Rolls-Royce PLC reported that the corrosion defects discovered on certain if its Trent 1000 turbofan engines are now evident on more of those units than it previously understood. Specifically, the problems that were categorized as specific to the Trent 1000 package C engines are now evident on Package B engines.
As a result, Rolls-Royce will conduct “one-off” inspections of 166 more Trent 1000 engines than were previously under evaluation, “to further inform our understanding.” The inspections will be carried out by agreement with relevant regulatory authorities (e.g., FAA, EASA) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which buys and installs the engines in its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The Trent 1000 is a high-bypass, turbofan engine developed by Rolls-Royce and introduced in 2006. It is one of two engines designs offered by Boeing for its twin-engine, wide-body commercial jets, and it was the launch engine on both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants.
The “package” designation defines the particular material constituents of the engine design and varies over time. The Trent 1000 Package B engines began service in 2012, and consists now of 166 engines.
The issue centers on corrosion-related fatigue cracking in the engines’ intermediate-pressure turbine (IPT) blades, defects that may result in engine failure. Working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Administration, as well as Boeing, Rolls has increased its inspection frequency on the Package C engines, and that same approach has now been implemented for the Package B engines.
Rolls also noted it is accelerating development of a new Intermediate Pressure Compressor (IPC) rotor, which it has described as a “permanent fix”.
“We are committed to eliminating this Intermediate Pressure Compressor durability issue from the Trent 1000 fleet and we have already successfully run a redesigned Package C IPC in a development engine,” according to a Rolls-Royce statement. “As a precautionary measure, we have also launched a redesign of the relevant part in the Package B engine, as well as in the Trent 1000 TEN engine, where, although currently a young fleet, we have not seen any examples of reduced IPC durability.”