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Additive Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce puts more 3D components into the skies

For the construction of the next generation of engines, the British company is combining 3D printing with lightweight materials. This allows for more efficient production of complex components in particular.

07 Nov. 2018
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Rolls-Royce puts more 3D components into the skies (Photo: Rolls-Royce Holdings plc.)

According to Rolls-Royce, the aircraft engine for the upcoming Advance3 generation consists of around 20,000 individual components. The company relies on new materials and additive manufacturing processes – especially in the production of complex components. The British company is impressed by the efficiency and quality of the process: tests have already resulted in a prototype of the new engine that is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Rolls-Royce uses traditional 3D printing with additive layer manufacturing (AML) to create complex components that need to be customized more often as part of the design process. Some of the components used are also made of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) that are particularly temperature-resistant and also significantly lighter than metal-based components. The manufacturer hopes the lighter, more efficient engines will consume 25% less fuel than the current generation. General Electrics also uses 3D printing to build engines, which has helped them reduce the number of parts by about 30%.