Rolls-Royce developing new aerospace servicing tech
Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has embarked on a new project at its Derby site which aims to make future aerospace servicing technologies a reality.
Engineers at the firm’s civil aerospace site, at Sinfin, will work on 20 technologies, designed to reduce disruption for airlines, while lessening its environmental impact by repairing components rather than scrapping them.
Technologies to be developed over the next three years include ‘snake robots’, which will be able to travel inside jet engines to access complex parts.
Dr Ian Mitchell, chief of technology (repair and services) at Rolls-Royce, said: “Our latest engines are quieter and cleaner than ever before, substantially reducing CO2 emissions.
“This programme will take that one step further by improving how we service our engines, creating technologies which will reduce waste, avoid emissions and minimise disruption, while laying the foundations to service the gas turbine and hybrid-electric engines of the future.”
Other developments include advanced automated repair technologies, targeting parts which cannot currently be repaired, meaning they do not need to be scrapped.
Miniature maintenance and inspection tools, as well as new repair technologies, will be used on Rolls-Royce’s existing engines, such as the Trent XWB, while engineers will explore how to repair and maintain aerospace materials and components for future low-carbon engines, including electric technology.
According to Rolls-Royce, the new technologies, which could be transferable to other sectors, such as nuclear and renewable energy, have the potential to avoid substantial amounts of CO2 every year.
The project, known as REINSTATE, is being supported by the ATI Programme, a joint government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture.
Ian Campbell, executive chairman of Innovate UK, which is the funding agency for the ATI Programme, said: “This project represents the coalescing of aerospace innovation excellence in the UK supply chain and academia, and is the culmination of research and development to deliver technologies that place the UK at the forefront of in-service engine performance.”