Derby South MP the Rt Hon Margaret Beckett is the guest of honour today (Monday, 17 September) as Rolls-Royce marks investment programmes totalling around £100 million by formally opening two additional world-class aerospace facilities in the city – a manufacturing centre for aero engine components, and one of the world’s largest test beds.
The two facilities are part of the company’s continuing strategy of investing in skills and infrastructure to constantly improve the efficiency of its operations. Today’s developments are a further demonstration of the company’s strong commitment to UK manufacturing, and reflect the faith Rolls-Royce has in the skills and dedication of its workforce.
Since 1999 the company has invested a total of £400 million in UK infrastructure, around half of which has been in Derby itself.
Mrs Beckett said: “These investments are a very welcome demonstration of the commitment by Rolls-Royce to manufacturing both in Derby and in the UK. The test bed investment is another example of the way in which Rolls-Royce continues to rise to the challenge of improving the environmental performance of its products and operations.”
58 Bed is the company’s newest, quietest and largest test facility. Together with the adjoining “twin” 57 Bed, the complex on Wilmore Road forms the most advanced indoor jet engine centre in the world.
As well as adding important capacity for both engine development and production pass-off test work, the new bed will also incorporate key certification tests previously undertaken at a specialist outdoor test facility at Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, which is scheduled to close around the end of the 2007.
This will result in community environmental benefits for Hucknall, while the commissioning of 58 Bed also reduces the company’s overall testing environmental footprint in enabling the closure of other older and noisier beds in Derby.
Work that will now be conducted at 58 Bed includes fan blade containment, bird ingestion and cold start tests that regulatory authorities require for any new engine prior to entry into service.
The massive new test cell, which has a double skinned roof and walls to eliminate engine noise, incorporates 11,000 cubic metres of concrete, and 1,000 tons of intake and exhaust silencing equipment.
The new manufacturing facility, also on Wilmore Road, will produce 170 different components for 23 engine types in service with more than 2,000 customers worldwide. Around 800 employees will be based in the new 33,000 square-metre factory.
The Derby factory was one of four announced in April 2004. One in Lancashire and another in Nottinghamshire are complete and operating at full capacity, while this facility and a similar one in Bristol – due to be opened later this week – mark the completion of this ambitious £100 million-plus investment in world-class manufacturing capability.