Rolls-Royce has first run for aerospace gearbox

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The first run of the Rolls-Royce Power Gearbox (PGB), at the company’s facility in Dahlewitz, Germany, marks the start of a series of tests that will see the gearbox reach up to 100,000 horsepower.

Mike Whitehead, Rolls-Royce, chief engineer and head of Program UltraFan Technologies, Civil Aerospace, said, “This is another significant step in bringing our future technology to life. We launched the UltraFan design in 2014 and now we are putting our new infrastructure to work to turn it into reality.”

The power gearbox is a vital component of the UltraFan design as it enables the engine design to deliver efficient power over a wide range of take-off thrusts.

The first run took place on Rolls-Royce’s Attitude Rig, which allows engineers to simulate the effects of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft that is climbing after take-off, coming in to land or banking while in flight. The initial run confirmed rig dynamics and oil system functionality at low pressures and speeds.

More advanced testing will take place during the rest of the year to provide additional data on low-power, high-speed combinations at various pitch and roll angles and at different simulated altitudes. High-power testing will take place next year on the PGB Power Rig, where the gearbox will reach full power.

UltraFan, available from 2025, will offer a 25% fuel-efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engine. It will feature a new engine core architecture to deliver maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions, and a CTi Fan System – carbon/titanium fan blades and a composite casing – to reduce weight.

Additionally, advanced ceramic matrix composites – heat resistant components that operate more effectively by requiring less cooling air – will be used in a geared design that will deliver efficient power for the high-thrust, high-bypass ratio engines of the future.

Rolls-Royce is working with Liebherr-Aerospace, through their Aerospace Transmission Technologies joint venture, to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the new power gearbox. Rolls-Royce leads the design definition and design integration of the power gearbox, as well as testing activities.

October 28, 2016

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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