QMT Features: November 2013
Ready for take-off
Laser Tracker technology supports Rolls Royce to keep step with the new Trent XWB engine final inspection requirements

Due to enter service in 2014, the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine, has sold more than twice the number of any comparable engine, at this stage of a programme, more than 1,400 engines are currently on order from 38 customers. To help keep pace with the high-precision final inspection requirements of the fastest-selling widebody engine ever, Rolls Royce has invested in Faro Laser Tracker ION technology.

Designed specifically for the Airbus A350 XWB the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine is currently near the end of a rigorous development and maturity demonstration programme. The first development engines are demonstrating better than expected fuel efficiency and excellent temperature margins. Available with a thrust of up to 97,000lb, the Trent XWB will be the sixth member of the highly successful Trent family of engines - the customers' number one choice, having already won nearly half of the engine orders for new generation wide bodied aircraft.
Demonstrated through exhaustive engine and flight testing, the Trent XWB has proven to be the world’s most efficient civil turbofan currently available. The advanced new turbofan is setting new standards of efficiency, lifecycle cost and environmental impact.

The Trent XWB uses the successful three-shaft architecture of Rolls-Royce engines and the detailed design will reflect 80 million hours of Trent family in-service experience. It also incorporates the latest technology from research and demonstrator programmes, giving a low risk solution with the best combination of performance, reliability and operating costs, in addition the Trent XWB will have the lowest carbon emissions of any widebody engine.

State of the art design features include the use of blisks, contra-rotation, low hub-tip ratio swept fan, advanced compressor aerodynamics, next generation clearance control and new materials technology. These qualities will ensure that the Trent XWB will deliver exceptional lifecycle fuel-efficiency, maximise revenue potential and minimise disruption.

Steve Parker, of Rolls Royce Trent XWB, Whole Engine Design explained: “Building on millions of hours of Trent family experience, the Trent XWB is a single engine type intended for use across the whole A350 XWB family. The advanced turbofan incorporates leading-edge technology and was designed, not only to deliver low operating costs, but also to be the most environmentally friendly engine available. When in service, the Trent XWB will provide world-beating reliability, dependability and predictability.

The Trent XWB has been created by using advanced manufacturing techniques in order to develop a lighter, more capable and efficient engine to meet tomorrow’s operational needs. Due to the commercial success of the new Trent XWB turbofan, the required high production volume has prompted a step-change in many of our assembly procedures. As part of this process, to help accommodate our increased assembly throughput, our project team recognised the need for an accurate, non-contact, large volume measuring device for use within the Trent XWB turbofan final assembly area.

After establishing a list of technical criteria for the proposed measuring equipment, including accuracy, repeatability, flexibility, low maintenance and calibration costs and the ability to keep pace with our production flow-line, we considered a range of applicable technologies and metrology manufacturers.
Having selected several advanced measuring systems that corresponded to our needs; our project team undertook a series of in-depth, shop-floor based R&R studies.  Although a couple of the tested devices satisfied many of our needs, the only system that ticked all of our boxes was the FARO Laser Tracker ION and so was ordered.

Following our FARO Laser Tracker ION training, and after trials on assembled engines, our Rolls-Royce team were able to develop a range of practical gauging methods and to achieve significant efficiency gains. In addition, work was undertaken to integrate the FARO Laser Tracker ION’s gathered data into our Polyworks software systems.

We are now gathering statistics in our inspection routines that will allow invaluable information to be communicated to manufacturing and assembly areas that will result in further efficiency gains.”

Steve concludes. “Given our required final assembly accuracy specifications and the sheer size of the Trent XWB, as illustrated by its 3 metre diameter fan, we are confident that the use of FARO technology will help in many of our high accuracy, large volume measuring routines.” l

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