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UK targets dramatic engine production cost cutting

Rolls-Royce is leading a new and well-funded UK project to develop and introduce low-carbon aircraft engine technology.

The £90 million ($149 million) Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK with Leading Environmental Technology (Samulet) project will focus on productivity and environmental improvements including reductions in raw material use, efficient advanced manufacturing processes and lower engine fuel consumption.

Partners include BAE Systems, GKN, Tacit Connexions, Granta and several UK university technology centres.

Samulet is receiving £11.5 million from the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £28.5 million from the Technology Strategy Board, a government body that promotes innovation.

Further financial support is under discussion with regional authorities and industry is providing the remaining funding to reach the £90 million figure, a significant sum in UK research.

Samulet is part of a UK government-backed effort to achieve a twofold increase in engine deliveries over the next eight years within the UK's current aeroengine manufacturing footprint. The effort also aims to achieve a reduction of up to 80% in manufacturing operations' cycle times and a cut in material waste of 45%.

The board's chief executive Iain Gray says: "Samulet aims to ensure that the UK aeroengine industry remains competitive in the face of new 2020 emissions targets for aircraft and that it is in a position to manufacture engines for the next generation of civil aircraft."

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