Rolls-Royce Brings 3D Printing to Engine Component Manufacturing

Posted on March 2, 2015 Jacob Luiz

In February of 2015 Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (the aerospace and defense power systems descendant of the original automobile manufacturer) announced that it would be testing history’s largest 3D printed object since the inception of the technology. The component is a nickel-based front bearing engine housing with 48 airfoils. With a diameter of 1.5m and a thickness of 0.5m, this component was constructed entirely through additive layer manufacturing (colloquially referred to as 3D printing) and will be placed on the Trent XWB-97 engine for testing. Additive layer manufacturing (ALM) entails using electron beams to melt and form metal powder into thin sheet layered shapes. The Trent XWB-97 will be the exclusive engine of the upcoming Airbus A350-1000 jetliner. Although the additive layer manufactured component will not be used in production offerings of the Airbus as of now, the company expects that ALM technology has the potential to reduce lead time by up to a third and is already extensively used in repair and prototyping processes.

Rolls-Royce began developing the Trent XWB in 2005, taking into account the specific needs of the Airbus A350 family (whose variants include the A350-800, A350-900 freighter, A350-900R ultra long range, and the upcoming A350-1000). The two companies have maintained a relationship since the 1980s when Rolls-Royce developed the Trent 700 solely for the Airbus A330. The XWB is the sixth member of the Trent product family of engines and is currently the fastest selling wide-body engine worldwide.

As one of the most successful airliner engines, the Trent XWB is a three-shaft turbofan with 68 turbine blades and a 75k to 97k pound thrust. Rolls-Royce claims that this engine will have a fuel efficiency 10% greater than its predecessors as a result of the high temperatures (2,000+ degree Celsius) achieved by its advanced ceramic-coated combustor. In addition, each turbine blade generates 800 horsepower with a total power capability exceeding 50,000 horsepower.

The Airbus A350-1000 is expected to enter service in 2017. ASAP Aerospace, a parts purchasing resource created by ASAP Semiconductor, offers a wide range of Rolls-Royce parts. We provide genuine quality products that go through our stringent quality control and trace verification process. Our aviation parts come with warranty for perfect fit, form and functionality. Prospective customers can browse our inclusive catalogue of obsolete and in-production Rolls-Royce parts at If you are interested in a part, please feel free to contact our knowledgeable sales staff at or call toll-free at 1-866-756-8540 for a quote.


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