Rolls-Royce last month opened its new advanced engine disc manufacturing facility at Washington in the northeast of England. When it is fully operational in 2016, the 194,000-sq-ft (18,000 sq m) factory will have the capacity to make 2,500 fan and turbine discs each year for various Trent engines, including the new Trent XWB that powers the Airbus A350XWB.
The new facility represents an investment of approximately $165 million for Rolls-Royce. It incorporates several advanced manufacturing techniques including robotics and automation for shot-peen, painting and chemical processing operations, as well as the latest platforms for machining, grinding, broaching and inspection processes.
According to Rolls-Royce, these improvements have reduced the time it takes to make a disc by 50 percent. Some of the new techniques were developed at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham, UK.