MDS Aero Support named as prime contractor behind new Rolls-Royce engine testing facility

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Artist’s impression of Rolls-Royce testbed (Image: Rolls-Royce)

MDS Aero Support has been named as the prime contractor for Rolls-Royce’s new testbed facility, which will be the biggest of its kind when opened in 2020.

Construction of the 7,500 m² (80,730ft²) gas turbine engine testing facility, in Derby, UK, started in March. It will be used to test Rolls-Royce’s civilian aero-engines, including the Trent XWB, which powers the Airbus A350, the Trent 1000 used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the next-generation UltraFan engine, which is expected to launch in 2025.

MDS is responsible for all aspects of the project, from its design to onsite construction management. It will also supply all of the test systems, including aerodynamic and acoustic elements, a thrust measurement system, engine adapters for current and future engines, and mechanical and fluid support systems. MDS’s latest data acquisition and controls system, nxDAS, will also feature

The facility features MDS’s next-generation test systems, which will be used to conduct endurance and water ingestion tests, amongst others.

Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace division, said, “This new testbed will support our ongoing industrial transformation and provide important additional capacity and flexibility as our civil aerospace business continues to ramp up engine production to enable us to deliver on a record order book.”

MDS partnered with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to develop and test several aspects of the bespoke testing equipment being supplied to the facility.

John Jastremski, president and CEO of MDS, said, “We are very excited to see this project getting off the ground. Rolls-Royce produces world-class power and propulsion systems, and we’re happy to be able to provide the company with a world-class testing facility to ensure their test systems are as innovative as its products.”

Jastremski added that, as engine test facilities get larger and larger, aeroacoustic research continues to be paramount, constituting an important part of the latest Rolls-Royce facility.

MDS, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, builds gas turbine engine and engine component test facilities for companies in the aerospace sector such as Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, Siemens, Solar Turbines, Lockheed Martin, MTU and Air France.

May 8, 2018

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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