Rolls-Royce and Liebherr-Aerospace create power gearbox joint venture

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Rolls-Royce and Liebherr-Aerospace have agreed to establish a 50:50 joint venture to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the power gearbox for Rolls-Royce’s new UltraFan™ engine.

UltraFan™, a geared design, is based on technology that could be ready for service from 2025, and will offer at least 25 per cent improvement in fuel burn compared with the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

The power gearbox will enable the UltraFan™ to deliver efficient power over a range of take-off thrusts for high-bypass ratio engines of the future. For the highest thrust engines, each single gearbox will be capable of handling the equivalent horsepower produced by more than 500 family cars.

The joint venture, located in Friedrichshafen, will provide production engineering for the power gear drive train components. The manufacturing of the components will initially be done in existing Liebherr facilities. As production volumes increase, the joint venture will look at options for creating a standalone manufacturing infrastructure.

Rolls-Royce will continue to lead the design definition and design integration of the power gearbox, as well as the testing activities.

Tony Wood, Rolls-Royce President, Aerospace said: “The UltraFan™ engine design includes a suite of new technologies to power next-generation aircraft. The power gearbox is an integral part of this new design, and we are delighted to be partnering with Liebherr on this highly efficient future power gearbox technology.

Josef Gropper, Managing Director & COO Production, Purchasing and Asset Investments, Liebherr-Aerospace: “We are thrilled to be participating in this exciting new engine demonstrator programme, which gives us the opportunity to break new ground and significantly enlarge our scope of activities. Due to our longstanding success in aviation gearboxes, our expertise in handling manufacturing challenges, and the Liebherr Group’s extensive competencies in gears for other applications, we will substantially contribute to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the power gearbox.”

Rolls-Royce has significant experience of the use of power gearboxes, with four geared designs currently in production (AE2100, T56, LiftFan and Model 250) and with thousands of engines in service.

The majority of the design expertise of the new power gearbox will reside within Rolls-Royce Germany. Rolls-Royce has started building a new power gearbox test centre at its Dahlewitz site south of Berlin, representing an investment of more than €80m, partly funded by the Brandenburg government.

Dr. Rainer Hönig, Managing Director, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, commented: “There are already more than 100 engineers working on this project. The new test-bed is taking shape and will be ready for testing to start in late 2016. This is an exciting time for our team in Germany, reaffirming that we are a strong industrial partner in the region.”

The establishment of the joint venture is subject to the usual legal approvals.

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce’s vision is to create better power for a changing world via two main business divisions, Aerospace and Land & Sea. These business divisions address markets with two strong technology platforms, gas turbines and reciprocating engines. Aerospace comprises Civil Aerospace and Defence Aerospace. Land & Sea comprises Marine, Nuclear and Power Systems.
  2. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 120 countries, comprising more than 380 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 4,000 marine customers including 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.
  3. Our business is focused on the 4Cs:
    • Customer – placing the customer at the heart of our business
    • Concentration – deciding where to grow and where not to
    • Cost – continually looking to increase efficiency
    • Cash – improving financial performance.
  4. Annual underlying revenue was £14.6 billion in 2014, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services. The firm and announced order book stood at £73.7 billion at the end of 2014.
  5. In 2014, Rolls-Royce invested £1.2 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 31 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.
  6. Rolls-Royce employs over 54,000 people in more than 50 countries. Over 15,500 of these are engineers.
  7. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills. In 2014 we employed 354 graduates and 357 apprentices through our worldwide training programmes. Globally we have over 1,000 Rolls-Royce STEM ambassadors who are actively involved in education programmes and activities; we have set ourselves a target to reach 6 million people through our STEM outreach activities by 2020.

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Liebherr-Aerospace is a leading supplier of systems for the aviation industry. Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS, Toulouse (France), is one of eleven divisional control companies within the Liebherr Group and coordinates all activities in the aerospace and transportation systems sectors.

Liebherr-Aerospace is a leading supplier of systems for the aviation industry and has more than five decades of experience in this field. The range of aviation equipment produced by Liebherr for the civil and military sectors includes flight control and actuation systems, landing gear and air management systems as well as gearboxes. These systems are deployed in wide-bodied aircraft, single aisle and regional aircraft, business jets, combat aircraft, military transporters, military training aircraft, civil helicopters and combat helicopters.

Liebherrs aerospace and transportation systems division employs around 4,900 people. It has four aviation equipment production plants at Lindenberg (Germany), Toulouse (France), Guaratinguetá (Brazil) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). These production sites offer a worldwide service with additional customer service centers in Saline (Michigan/USA), Seattle (Washington/USA), Montréal (Canada), Sao José dos Campos (Brazil), Hamburg (Germany), Moscow (Russia), Dubai (UAE), Singapore and Shanghai (Peoples Republic of China).

For further information, please contact:

Richard Wray    
Director of External Communications
Rolls-Royce
T: +44 (0)20 7227 9163 
M: +44 (0)7974 918 416
E-mail: richard.wray@rolls-royce.com

Frank Martin Hein
Head of Communications – Europe
Rolls-Royce
T: +49 (0) 30 2094 2503
M: +49 (0) 15112164144
E-mail: Frank-Martin.Hein@rolls-royce.com
Ute Braam
Liebherr
T: +49 8381 46 4403
E-mail: ute.braam@liebherr.com

www.rolls-royce.com