Liebherr on the Rolls-Royce UltraFan™
Liebherr-Aerospace and Rolls-Royce have established a 50:50 joint venture to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the power gearbox for Rolls-Royce’s new UltraFan™ engine.
The power gearbox
The power gearbox will enable the UltraFan™, a geared design, 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. UltraFan™ is based on technology that could be ready for service from 2025. It will offer at least 25 per cent improvement in fuel burn compared with the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.
In October 2016, Rolls-Royce has run the gearbox for the first time at its new test center in Dahlewitz south of Berlin, marking a significant step in the development of the UltraFan™ engine design.
The first run took place on Rolls-Royce’s altitude rig, which allows engineers to simulate the effects of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft that is climbing after take-off, coming in to land or banking while in flight. The initial run confirmed rig dynamics and oil system functionality at low pressures and speeds.Learn more about Liebherr gears and gearboxes
The joint venture
Located in Friedrichshafen (Germany), the joint venture provides production engineering for the power gear drive train components. The manufacturing of the components is initially being done in existing Liebherr facilities, more precisely in its Friedrichshafen plant, which is Liebherr-Aerospace’s center of excellence for helicopter and aircraft gears and gearboxes, and in its plant in Biberach an der Riss (Germany), which specializes in the manufacture of planetary gears and other components. These are used in a wide range of products such as Liebherr cranes, mining trucks, earth moving applications and port equipment as well as in wind power plants. As production volumes increase, the joint venture will look at options for creating a standalone manufacturing infrastructure.
Apart from Liebherr’s know-how in the production of gears, the joint venture also benefits from the Group’s expertise in machining centers for gears, which it has been developing and manufacturing in its plant in Kempten (Germany) for decades.
Rolls-Royce leads the design definition and design integration of the power gearbox, as well as the testing activities.