Rolls-Royce invests in research and factories in the U.K.

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

Rolls-Royce, a global power systems company, on July 28 announced plans to invest in four new factories and two advanced research programs in the United Kingdom. These investments will enable Rolls-Royce to respond to anticipated growth in its aerospace and civil nuclear markets and will create or secure more than 800 jobs in innovative high-value manufacturing programs, largely in Assisted Areas. The research programs will focus on critical technologies to reduce the CO2 emissions of future aircraft programs and will accelerate the development of new manufacturing methods that create significant competitive advantage for the United Kingdom. Rolls-Royce also separately announced on July 28 the development of a new wide-chord fan blade factory in Singapore.


Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce chief executive, stated: "These are significant investments in capability and research which reflect our commitment to continue to invest in the future of our business, even at this stage in the economic cycle. We are delighted that the British Government will be supporting these projects."


New U.K. factories
Rolls-Royce will invest more than GBP300 million in four factories in the U.K., with GBP45 million of support to be provided by the U.K. Government. The factories comprise:

1.      Casting facility for single crystal (SX) turbine blades: Turbine blades are important and highly complex aero engine components. Rolls-Royce will establish a new casting facility, where it will develop new, high-productivity manufacturing processes before incorporating them into production. The factory will manufacture advanced turbine blade castings for the company's most modern, high-thrust engines.

2.      Advanced disc manufacturing facility: Discs are critical rotating parts used in fans, compressors and turbines. Rolls-Royce will establish a new disc machining factory that will deliver a step-change improvement in the manufacture of fan and turbine discs for commercial and military aero engines. A suite of manufacturing processes, developed in the advanced manufacturing research centers, will be demonstrated in the factory before being introduced into production.

3.      Military wide chord fan blade (WCFB) facility: Rolls-Royce has unique capability in the production of hollow WCFBs, which are central to the performance of both military and commercial aero engines. The group is positioned on the engine program of the Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. Rolls-Royce is providing hollow blisked fans for the LiftSystem on the VSTOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) version of the aircraft and for the F136 alternative engine. It will extend its facility in Barnoldswick, U.K., where it currently manufactures large WCFBs for commercial aircraft, to manufacture advanced military blades, investing in new capacity to meet planned increases in engine production. Additional capability for the manufacture of civil wide chord fan blades will be located in a new factory in Singapore announced separately today, which will complement the existing WCFB facility at Barnoldswick.

4.      Civil nuclear facility Rolls-Royce will build a new factory to manufacture, assemble and test components for new civil nuclear power stations. These include pressure vessels, heat exchangers and other large and complex reactor parts, manufactured to exacting nuclear standards. The facility will have strong links with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, announced by the U.K. Government on July 15, in which Rolls-Royce will be the leading industrial partner. The group is consulting globally with appropriate employee representatives on the U.K. and Singapore investments.


New research and technology programs in the U.K.

The company and its partners will also invest in new research programs. These comprise:

1.      Research into low carbon aircraft engine technologies: Rolls-Royce and its partners are investing in a Rolls-Royce-led research program valued at around GBP90 million that is central to the development of low carbon aircraft engine technologies. The UK Government will provide GBP45 million through its Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to support the research. The TSB is currently considering a research program called SILOET (Strategic Investment in Low Carbon Engine Technology), which is expected to deliver a substantial improvement in CO2 emissions and, hence, engine fuel economy.

2.      SAMULET (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the U.K. through Leading Environmental Technologies): SAMULET is a Rolls-Royce-led collaborative program to accelerate the development of manufacturing and product technologies. It will focus on productivity and environmental improvements, including efficient advanced manufacturing processes and lower engine fuel consumption. The program will be closely linked with the advanced manufacturing research centers. It will be valued at up to GBP90 million over four years and is receiving support of GBP28.5 million from the TSB and GBP11.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with further support under discussion with regional bodies.


About Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is a global business, providing and supplying integrated power systems for use on land, at sea and in the air. The group has established a strong position in civil aerospace, defense aerospace, marine and energy markets. Annual underlying revenues were GBP9.1 billion in 2008, 52 percent of which came from services revenues. The firm and announced order book at the end of 2008 stood at GBP55.5 billion, providing visibility of future levels of activity. Rolls-Royce employs approximately 38,000 skilled people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in 50 countries. The group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills. Businesses are headquartered in the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore.

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