Rolls-Royce plc broke ground recently for a new testbed operation in Derby, England, part of a wider, £150-million ($212 million) capital investment to expand its civil-aerospace manufacturing capacity.
The new testbed will be commissioned in 2020, the engine developer and manufacturer noted. It will be capable of testing current Rolls-Royce engine models (including the Trent XWB and Trent 1000 high-bypass turbofan engines) and be the test site for testing the future UltraFan® engine.
Rolls emphasized that the new testbed will support its recent "IntelligentEngine vision" by combinding advanced digital and physical testing technologies.
A testbed is a large-scale workshop and testing platform where aircraft engine developers conduct theoretical and operational tests of full-scale models. Rolls’ new testbed will be the largest indoor facility of its type in the world (7,500 sq.m.), it noted, and apply the latest digital technology to set conditions and collect statistical data from various test activities, including water ingestion and endurance testing.
It also will incorporate recent advances in testing equipment, including new x-ray capabilities.
“This new facility will not only give us the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our growth plans but also sustains employment across the region,” stated Chris Cholerton, president – Civil Aerospace.