Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, today began construction of a state-of-the-art Advanced Blade Casting Facility in Rotherham. The new facility will manufacture high technology single crystal turbine blades for large civil aero engines and will create 150 jobs.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Today is further evidence of Rolls-Royce's strong commitment to the UK and the strength of advanced manufacturing we have in this country. This new facility is good news not just for Rolls-Royce and the local area but for our aerospace sector and the wider economy too. It provides a good example of business and Government working together to deliver growth."
Mike Mosley, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President – Turbines said: “Rolls-Royce invests in world class technology and infrastructure to expand the scale and efficiency of our operations and to deliver our promises to our customers. In the last five years we have invested over £950 million on infrastructure in the UK alone. The Advanced Blade Casting Facility will use cutting edge manufacturing techniques to produce single crystal turbine blades, which play a critical role in jet engines and must withstand incredibly harsh conditions.”
The Advanced Blade Casting Facility is expected to produce its first blades in late 2014, with the facility capable of manufacturing 100,000 blades per year when fully operational. Each blade will be cast to form a single crystal of super alloy, making it extremely strong and able to resist the intense heat inside a jet engine.
The 14,000 m2 facility will be one of the most advanced blade casting facilities in the world, featuring groundbreaking manufacturing techniques such as 3D structured light for geometry inspection.
The single crystal turbine blade is a critical component of the jet engine and there are over 65 in every Trent engine. One single crystal turbine blade extracts around 1000 horsepower from the gas flow towards the rear of the engine, which is equivalent to the power of an F1 racing car, to drive the engine’s compressors.
Single crystal turbine blades operate in temperatures up to 200 degrees above the melting point of their alloy and sit in a disc that rotates at more than 12,000 rpm. This means that the centrifugal force exerted on a blade is equivalent to the weight of a London bus.