Advertising

Blade-wear issues confined to Trent 1000: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is "confident" that issues with premature blade deterioration on the Trent 1000 are confined to that engine and will not be replicated on any of its other powerplants.

The UK manufacturer has been dealing with durability issues on the engine since 2016. These have caused severe disruption to operators of the Boeing 787 equipped with the Trent 1000.

Problems initially surfaced on the Package B model but were later also detected on the Package C and Trent TEN variants.

But, speaking to journalists on 30 May, R-R chief customer officer Dominic Horwood stressed that the issue was related to the specific geometry and design of the Trent 1000.

"We are confident that what we are dealing with on the Trent 1000 are design issues which are unique to that product and they are related to the specific configuration, the specific design of that engine at a component level," he says.

While the engine maker continuously tests that assumption, "we are confident that is the case and that is what we have shared with all customers", he says.

"That is being proven out in service with the performance of the Trent XWB and the sampling that we have been doing of that fleet," he adds; no "carry-over" of the issues has been seen.

"I know that's easy to say, but it does come down to the detailed geometry, the detailed design of this particular engine."

The Trent XWB exclusively powers the Airbus A350, while the A330neo is equipped with the Trent 7000 – a derivative of the Trent 1000 which entered service late last year.

Horwood admits that levels of disruption seen by operators of Trent 1000-powered 787s are still "significant" and "totally unacceptable".

R-R remains hopeful that it will achieve a "significantly lower level of fleet disruption" by year-end, citing "good progress" made on technical fixes for the intermediate-pressure compressor on Package C engines.

That adds to the rectification of earlier problems with the intermediate-pressure turbine blades and fan seal on the Package B model.

Assisting airlines with recovery from the disruption remains the "single most important issue for us to manage for our customers today", he says.

Although its decision was not directly related to the issues, Trent 1000 operator Air New Zealand recently selected the rival GE Aviation GEnx engine for its incoming fleet of 787-10s.

While noting that R-R will continue to power the majority of the airline's Dreamliners, Horwood says he "respects" Air New Zealand's decision. R-R will, however, "continue to fight for every 787 opportunity", he vows.

The manufacturer points out that this year it has won two contests on the 787, with Air Premia and Lufthansa both selecting Trent 1000 engines for their on-order Dreamliners.

Horwood says that lessons learned from the experience are being incorporated into the manufacturer's design and testing processes for the future, including a better understanding of the corrosive sulphidation process at the root of the blade cracking.

Advertising
Related Content
Advertising