Aerospace Pre-Production Project
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Aerospace Pre-Production Project

Rolls-Royce and the MTC collaboratively designed, set-up, and operated an additive manufacturing pre-production facility that supplied all of the titanium Engine Section Stator (ESS) components required for the Ultrafan™ Engine development programme.

The Challenge

With the launch of the UltraFan™ Engine development programme (EDP), Rolls-Royce identified Electron Beam Melting (EBM) as the lead technology for production of Engine Section Stator (ESS) components. The UltraFan™ engine will deliver further fuel efficiency and CO2 reductions, and provide a significant reduction in engine noise.

Building on the experience of a previous EBM programme with Rolls-Royce, the MTC were able to launch a pre-production facility in tight timescales that would enable delivery of the 240 Engine Section Stators required for the UltraFan™ EDP.

MTC’s Solution

  • Created a 4500ft2 AM production cell that included: AM build workshop (housing six Arcam Electron Beam Melting machines running Ti6Al4V), powder handling, post processing, inspection, and office space.
  • Developed a method of manufacture and a traceability management system, from powder to part, suitable for flight trials.
  • Embedded an integrated project team with the machine manufacturer, the MTC and Rolls-Royce working together.
  • Used technical expertise to solve AM process challenges to enable doubling of part size leading to part consolidation and enhanced part functionality.

The Outcome

  • Initial part optimisation, cell refit, operational ramp up and ESS component production run completed over a three year period.
  • Tens of thousands of equipment run hours with extensive data capture.
  • Delivered 240 aerospace standard components complete with full traceability for the flying test bed programme.

Benefits To The Client

  • Rapid scale up of production capability to meet complex customer requirements.
  • Full method of manufacture based on-site, with relevant process experts on hand across the full AM process chain.
  • Fast iteration and design change implementation throughout project.
  • Customer based on-site working hand in hand with NCAM team, enabling enhanced knowledge transfer.
Great teamwork between the MTC and Rolls-Royce is what made this project such a success. The challenge of building such large parts with EBM should not be underestimated!
Alan Pardoe, Partnership Manager, Rolls-Royce

AM build processing room, housing six Arcam EBM machines