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European Aero-Engine Industry

An aircraft engine is composed of a large and increasing number of interacting components belonging to different technological fields. New engine development programs involve a large number of actors (suppliers, regulatory bodies, airframers, and airlines) that require an effort of co-ordination from both an organisational and a technological viewpoint. In order to co-ordinate, manage, andintegrate the roles of the actors involved in the industry, engine makers need to span their capabilities over a wide range of scientific and technological fields and they arerequired to develop specific organisational (e.g. project management) and relational (e.g. marketing) capabilities. On the other hand, there is a trend in the industry towards a greater division of labor between engine manufacturers and first- and second-tier suppliers. This poses significant managerial implications in terms of allocation and control of resources required for the development of new engines.

Three companies - General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce - effectively control the global markets for commercial aircraft engines. For some time observers of the industry had expected that one of the Big Three would eventually be forced to withdraw from the industry, and at the beginning of the 1990s, it appeared that the British-based company, Rolls-Royce, would be the one to go. A decade later, however, it was Pratt & Whitney, one of the two US-based companies, that appeared to be in the most vulnerable position. The German-based engineering company DaimlerChrysler MTU ranks fifth among the world's aero engine companies, after GE Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Snecma -- yet doesn't make a single engine itself.

In January 2000 Pratt & Whitney had the dominant share of "in-service" widebody turbofan engines, with 45 percent compared to General Electric's 32 percent and Rolls-Royce's 23 percent. But Rolls-Royce had a larger share of new orders than Pratt & Whitney, even though both companies trailed far behind General Electric, which, through CFM, its joint-venture with the state-owned French company, SNECMA, also dominates the single-aisle and regional jet markets. Rolls-Royce's position in the industry is based on its superior technologicalcapabilities, embodied in the three-shaft architecture of its turbofan engines. The modularity embedded in the three-shaft architecture has enabled Rolls-Royce to develop and stretch a family of engines with an unmatchable range of power to meet different market niches and therefore deploy similar technological solutions across engines without incurring heavy additional development costs. Moreover, three-shaft engines are simpler, shorter, lighter, and more rigid than competing engines based on two-shaft architectures. These characteristics enable the three-shaft engine to sustain high levels of performance throughout its life, thus resulting in low maintenance costs.

An essential concern for the European aircraft engine industry is the improvement of its global market position. To achieve this aim the industry has to invest in innovative technologies. The European aircraft engine industry is aiming to use new advanced materials, such as gamma-titanium aluminides and single crystals, which offer improved mechanical properties. By means of these advanced engines the fuel consumption will decrease, emissions and noise will be reduced. the aircraft engine industry stresses the need for a measurement method compatible with cost effectiveness, short-term implementation, fast availability of results and accuracy, meeting ICAO emission certification needs.

A manufacturing technology for those new materials which is efficient and highly reliable has to be developed. A key technology for the manufacturing sequence is the grinding technology. The innovative process, variant speed stroke grinding with super abrasive grinding tools, is proposed as a corresponding approach. For the realisation of this new grinding technology a concurrent development of a new machine tool concept, adapted super abrasive grinding wheels and an adaptation of the process itself is required. Focus is also on ensuring work piece properties while machining with the proposed technology.

French aircraft engine manufacturer Snecma and the Dutch Aero Engine Cluster (DAEC), the association of Dutch aircraft engine parts manufacturers, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2007 for increased strategic technological collaboration. The Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), a participant in DAEC, will provide support to this Dutch industry with expertise, research and development. This collaboration will enable the Dutch aircraft engine parts industry to supply Snecma with more parts. NLR will assist the Dutch industry with, among other things, expertise in aircraft engine compressors. This is because compressor parts such as seals, blisks and variable stator vanes are going to be the key market opportunities for the Dutch suppliers. The NLR will therefore make contributions in different research areas, such as composites, flow calculations and design tools, and also make available test facilities.

NEWAC (NEW Aero Engine Core Concepts) is a European funded research program under the leadership of MTU Aero Engines, in which major European engine manufacturers, assisted by universities, research institutes and enterprises - 40 partners in all - focus on new core engine concepts. The NEWAC program as a whole sets out to raise technology readiness levels for the four advanced engine core concepts. It does this by demonstrating key enabling technologies and measuring their performance effects in representative rig tests. Three leading engine manufacturers - Rolls-Royce, Snecma and MTU - defined the four main NEWAC engine architectural concepts and set the original CO2 and NOx reduction targets. Then, with the formal launch of NEWAC in 2006, the high-level objectives from ACARE and the original NEWAC proposal were flowed down to engine, module and component level, and detailed performance and geometry specifications consistent with those objectives were provided to the other subprojects. NEWAC SP1 puts these new engine technologies into context by defining typical engine applications and by setting design requirements and targets for rig testing. Whole engine designs and assessments are then needed to properly evaluate the full potential of each new technology. The technologies are regularly reassessed at whole engine level to see how well the original design targets are being met and how well the new technologies would benefit different engine applications.

  • Intercooled Recuperative Core for the Intercooled Recuperative Aero engine concept (IRA) operated at lowOverpressure Ratio (OPR) and using a Lean PremixedPre-vaporized (LPP) combustor concept
  • Intercooled Core for a high OPR engine concept based on a3 shaft Direct Drive Turbo Fan (DDTF) with a Lean DirectInjection (LDI) combustor
  • Active Core with active systems applicable for a gearedturbo fan (GTF) using a Partially Evaporation and RapidMixing (PERM) combustor
  • Flow Controlled Core for the Counter Rotating Turbo Fan(CRTF) using a PERM or a LDI combustor

VITAL (EnVIronmenTALly Friendly Aero Engines) is a European funded research programme which was launched in January 2005 and runs for 63 months. Snecma (SAFRAN Group) is coordinating this program, which involves 53 partners from 15 countries including Rolls-Royce, MTU, ITP, Avio, TechspaceAero, Volvo and many more.The aim of VITAL is to develop engine technologies that reducenoise by 6 decibels and CO2 emissions by 7%. At the same time, VITAL aims to develop innovative technical solutions to reduce the engine's weight, thereby reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

  • Contra Rotating Turbofan (CRTF), with two fans turning inopposite directions, allowing even lower rotation speeds,since the two fans split the loads involved.
  • Direct Drive Turbofan (DDTF), an optimised trade-offbetween fan and turbine requirements.
  • Geared Turbofan (GTF), combining a fan with a reductiongearbox, to allow different rotating speeds for the fan on onehand, and the booster and turbine on the other. estimates that the global aerospace market grows at an annual rate of about 10%. Most of demand comes from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, while some from the United States and Europe for the purpose of updating and upgrading. From 2010 to 2029, the global civil aviation market will need about 150,000 aeroengines valued USD 801.4 billion. These engines will also create after-sales services valued about USD 650 billion in their service time.

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