A Jumbo Jet Engine

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    Auto-Scroll: ONOFF 
    • 00:31


    • 00:38

      ANDY GEER: It's a massive machine,but it's a real piece of precision engineering too.

    • 00:45

      MARK GORMAN: From the moment we launch the kitto make the first internal module,right through to the engine being dispatched, it's 20 days.

    • 00:59

      MIKE WALLACE: The fan blade delivers75% of the engine's thrust.It shifts about 1.2 tons of air per secondwhen it's at full throttle.

    • 01:07

      JOHN REID: After about 30 seconds,you've got to come away.You can't stand there too long.If you do, you just start burning.

    • 01:19

      EMPLOYEE 1: Every bit of this is all put together by hand.

    • 01:24

      EMPLOYEE 2: If we was to fit a bolt, and it was wrong,the aircraft was to come down--

    • 01:29

      DAVE BEMBOW: We run thousands of hours of testing.An explosive detonation releases the bladefrom the disk at max take-off speedand flies it into the fan case.The engine is destroyed.

    • 01:45

      KEVIN CARR: Derby is Rolls-Royce.You mention Derby, everybody says Rolls-Royce.

    • 01:50

      MARK KING: It's a very tough competitionwith one of the most powerful and competitive companiesin the world, General Electric.

    • 02:01

      STEVE BALL: It's not until you see the Trent fleet fly over.I have made [INAUDIBLE].

    • 02:09

      ANDY GEER: Today, we're the lead.We're the most efficient engines flying in the world.

    • 02:21


    • 02:26

      NARRATOR: This is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

    • 02:29


    • 02:33

      NARRATOR: Designed to be the most fuel efficientjumbo jet ever, it's touted as the future of air travel.

    • 02:39

      ANNOUNCER: Even on sort of a gray Seattle day,that paint job is beautiful.

    • 02:44

      NARRATOR: After years in development,the plane is finally ready for its very first flight.The weather's atrocious, but it'sa make or break moment for Boeing's first new airlinerin 10 years.

    • 02:57

      PILOT: Do you know our plane is taxiing,and so we're proceeding inbound.Now we're switching to--

    • 03:03

      NARRATOR: And no one's more gripped than these engineerswatching live over the web in Derby.Because they have designed and builtthe plane's groundbreaking jet engines, using technologythat will save each plane three million pounds a year in fuel.If the flight goes according to plan,

    • 03:23

      NARRATOR [continued]: Rolls-Royce could find themselvesbuilding the greenest, cleanest engine for many of the world'sairlines, and securing orders in a highly competitive industry.The engine includes some of the most advanced aviationtechnology the world has ever seen.

    • 03:44

      NARRATOR [continued]: This is the story of how a British company leads the worldin building the most advanced jumbo jet engines,and of the people who build them.Rolls-Royce jet engines are built at state of the art

    • 04:05

      NARRATOR [continued]: factories all over the UK.It's a huge operation, with ordersworth over 40 billion pounds in civil aviation alone,and employing around 11,000 people building them.A new engine must roll off the production line every 36 hours.

    • 04:19

      JOHN REID: Morning, Kev.

    • 04:20

      KEVIN CARR: Morning, John.

    • 04:21

      JOHN REID: All right, mate.This week is my turn, but I tend to be more times in this suitthan not.

    • 04:27

      NEERAJ SUNGER: Wow, actually, I couldbe building one of these in maybe a few monthsor designing one of them.Maybe-- maybe one day.

    • 04:34

      EMPLOYEE 3: There you go.That's it.Hook it up, you two.It's a work of art.

    • 04:43

      NARRATOR: Rolls-Royce's main assembly plantis a vast 300-acre complex of factory buildingsin the southwest corner of Derby.The city has been home to Rolls-Royce for 100 years.And for many of the 250,000 people who live here,the company is a way of life-- in work and play.

    • 05:07

      CATH TAYLOR: About 12 years ago, Ijoined the local ladies' choir.[CHOIR SINGING]We rehearse every week on a Monday eveningat the Rolls-Royce Ledger Association.It's a real enjoyable evening after a day at work.[BAND MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 05:35

      NARRATOR: For many of those who work at the company,Rolls-Royce and Derby go back a very long way.

    • 05:41

      KEVIN CARR: I was born and bred in Derby,so I've been in Derby 53 years.

    • 05:46

      EMPLOYEE 1: I've been at Royce's 36 years.It's like a family business, as well,because my wife works at Rolls-Royce.[CHUCKLES]

    • 05:56

      EMPLOYEE 4: Without Rolls-Royce, I'm unemployed again,I would say.It means a lot to us.Well, I think it means a lot to Derbyfor what it's done, really.

    • 06:04

      KEVIN CARR: We look up to Rolls-RoyceI bet there's not anybody, really,that doesn't know somebody that works at Rolls-Royce.

    • 06:10

      EMPLOYEE 5: 40 years-- since I was 18, I joined Royce's.In fact, we worked on the Spitfire and the Merlin engine.[CHOIR SINGING]

    • 06:20

      CATH TAYLOR: The choir is in existence for 50 years.We celebrated the 50 years last yearand had a big concert to celebrate that.

    • 06:35

      CHOIR MEMBER: 50 years and nearly 6 months.They sang at my wedding, which was very nice.And I came back with my daughter when she was 11 days old,and she sat in her pram and rocked all the while,while we sang for months and months.[BAND MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 06:60

      KEVIN CARR: Derby is Rolls-Royce.We've got lots of other engineering companies,but you mention Derby, everybody says Rolls-Royce.

    • 07:10

      NARRATOR: The company used to be most famous for its luxurycars.But that's all ended in the early '70s.Today, Rolls-Royce cars are actually made by BMW.The company's real heritage is aircraft engines.

    • 07:31

      NARRATOR [continued]: In fact, they've powered some of the world's most iconicaircraft from Second World War fighter planes and the HarrierJump Jet to the much-loved Concorde.And that heritage continues today, powering helicopters,business and military jets, and even ships.

    • 07:54

      NARRATOR [continued]: But the star product is the pioneering family of Trent jetengines, including the newest, Trent 1000,for the Boeing Dreamliner.All the Trent engines are designed for jumbo stylewide-bodied airliners, like Boeing 777and the famous Airbus Superjumbo.

    • 08:16

      NARRATOR [continued]: But this engine, for the Airbus 330,is the biggest seller of all.In 15 years, the Trent 700 has clocked up 13 million flyinghours.

    • 08:28

      ANDY GEER: It's a massive machine,but it's a real piece of precision engineering too.

    • 08:39

      NARRATOR: Weighing at least five tons,each Trent engine is worth several times its weightin silver.Only two companies in the world arecapable of building engines this good.

    • 08:58

      MARK KING: It's a very tough competitionbetween one of the most powerful and competitive companiesin the world, General Electric.If you look at all the latest new technology aircraft,all have selected Rolls-Royce engines to power the first one.

    • 09:16

      MARK GORMAN: It carries a payload of 242 tons,at 37,000 feet, for 9,500 miles, which, as you can imagine,is a serious challenge for any technology to deliver.So it really is at the high end of manufacturing and assembly.And I often describe what we do as producing things of beauty.

    • 09:45

      NARRATOR: But the popularity of the Trent 700 is alsothe factory's biggest challenge .With orders placed to build 400 new engines,the company has to produce at least four a week.For the production line, one of the most complex in the world,time is big money.

    • 10:05

      NARRATOR [continued]: Each Trent engine is built from modules,eight separate sections which are put togetheron the assembly line.But each module is made from thousands and thousandsof components.And the monumental task of gathering themstarts here at their massive parts warehouse.

    • 10:29

      KEVIN CARR: On average, with me pedometer,I average about eight miles a day-- on an average day.But if we have lots and lots of issues,my best is just under 16 miles in a day.Lots and lots of shoe leather used.

    • 10:43

      NARRATOR: Kevin Carr's job is to makesure every engine part is deliveredto the assembly line on time.

    • 10:49

      KEVIN CARR: I do know the guys around here say,you just give me a part number, show me a box,and I can tell you what it is and where it goes.Everything's footprinted, ready for the guys.It's a bit like a sweet shop for them.They can pick and choose what they want.

    • 11:09

      KEVIN CARR [continued]: We supply their very first nut, bolt, or washersthat they fit, right up to the very last little bit of plasticthat we put on the engine before it goes outthe door to the customer.So that could be anything up to 30,000, 40,000 parts,depending on which engine it is.

    • 11:25

      NARRATOR: It's Kev who kicks off every new engine build.Two days before the assembly begins,he triggers the dispatch of tens of thousandsof parts from the warehouse.

    • 11:34

      EMPLOYEE 6: So Lawrence, there are eight to tops, nine.

    • 11:37

      KEVIN CARR: Have they got all the bits there for it?

    • 11:38

      EMPLOYEE 6: Yes.

    • 11:39

      KEVIN CARR: Got all the paperwork?

    • 11:40

      EMPLOYEE 6: Yes.

    • 11:40

      KEVIN CARR: Yeah?So we're all ready to go then.OK.Thanks very much, now.Looking at the boxes, you wouldn't know.But just looking at the objects themselvesthat are lying on the floor, there'snothing under 1,000 pounds.You saw the engine control managementunit, roughly 725,000 pounds worth in that box,just sitting there on a pallet.Anything up to 200 million pounds

    • 12:02

      KEVIN CARR [continued]: worth of stock on the shelf.We have roughly five engines' worth of stock of anything.

    • 12:10

      NARRATOR: Some of the components thatmake this engine what it is were designed and builtby some of Britain's most skilled and innovativeengineers at Rolls-Royce.Nestling in the Lancashire hills, 100 miles northof Derby, Barnoldswick is where the first ever jet engines were

    • 12:32

      NARRATOR [continued]: developed by Sir Frank Whittle.And today, this small community stillplays a very special part in the building of every Trent engine.Raw materials arrive at the factory every day,solid sheets of high grade titanium.

    • 12:54

      NARRATOR [continued]: They're destined to become one of the components thatmake Rolls-Royce Trent engines truly unique.

    • 13:01

      MIKE WALLACE: When you walk onto a plane,you look into the engine, that's the fan blade,and that's what we make here.

    • 13:09

      NARRATOR: Mike Wallace's job is to transform the raw metalinto high performance fan blades.

    • 13:17

      MIKE WALLACE: The fan blade delivers75% of the engine's thrust.It shifts about 1.2 tons of air per second,and the loading on the blade is somethinglike 90 tons centrifugal load when it's at full throttle.

    • 13:31

      NARRATOR: That's like hanging 13 double-decker busesoff each of the 20 blades.The enormous fan is what distinguishesa modern jumbo engine from older turbo jets.They didn't have a fan at the frontand relied entirely on the jets exhaust to thrustthe plane forwards.

    • 13:53

      NARRATOR [continued]: Faster than a propeller, but inefficient and very noisy.But in a turbo fan, like a Trent engine,the energy of the exhaust is harvestedto turn the massive fan blades at the front, whichin turn, push huge amounts of cold airquietly around the sides of the engine.And that's what thrusts the plane forwards.

    • 14:16

      NARRATOR [continued]: The Trent fan blades are unique,

    • 14:18

      MIKE WALLACE: So which section is this?

    • 14:21

      NARRATOR: And it's all down to their design

    • 14:25

      MIKE WALLACE: The original blades used to be solid.In order to get better performance,take weight out of the engine, it was designed to be hollow.And our manufacturing process, which is unique,has actually enabled us to make that and advance the technologywithin Rolls-Royce.

    • 14:42

      NARRATOR: Every single fan blade is worth as muchas an average family car.For each blade, three sheets of metalare bonded together to make a solid titanium sandwich.It's a process so secret, it can't be shown on television.

    • 15:08

      NARRATOR [continued]: The unique process begins when the titanium layers are bondedtogether in a secret pattern, Then the whole bladeis inflated like a balloon, pulling and stretchingthe inner layer across the cavity,like cheese between slices of pizza,leaving a super light, super strong internal structure.

    • 15:29

      NARRATOR [continued]: But before it can be inflated, the flat titanium sandwichhas to be heated and twisted into shape.Then it's ready for the most critical stageof the processs-- inflation.

    • 15:44

      MIKE WALLACE: We've used an inert gas,because we can't have it reactingwith the titanium at temperature.There's a high pressure inside to inflate itto the level of accuracy we need.

    • 15:53

      NARRATOR: The heat-resistant tube connects the bladeto a high pressure gas supply.But the gas alone won't be enough to inflate the blade.The whole assembly also has to beloaded into a furnace at a secret, critical temperature.

    • 16:14

      NARRATOR [continued]: A single speck of dust could cause a lot of damage.

    • 16:26

      JOHN REID: It gets very hot.After about 30 seconds, you've got to come away.You can't stand there too long at all.If you do, you just start burning-- all your gloves,fingers, everything.

    • 16:37

      NARRATOR: It takes four and a half hours for the gasto slowly inflate the blade to its precise aerofoil shape.

    • 16:58

      NARRATOR [continued]: Despite the precision of the engineering,no two finished blades are exactly alike.And with 20 in each fan, it will onlyspin smoothly if the blades are perfectly balanced.So every one is precisely measured and weighed,

    • 17:20

      NARRATOR [continued]: then rung like a bell.[RINGING]

    • 17:24

      MIKE WALLACE: Each blade has a different massand different frequency.And we use that data to select wherethose blades are going to be positioned within the disk.So when we go to engine build, they'relocated and selected in those exact locations.

    • 17:41

      NARRATOR: This is the attention to detailthat ensures every Trent engine is as safe and efficient as itcan be.And with up to 150 blades leaving the factory every week,it's also the challenge that keeps Mike going.

    • 17:54

      MIKE WALLACE: For me, it's exciting.After 27 years working on fan blades, it's still exciting.And there's still a lot more to do.

    • 18:02

      NARRATOR: Rolls-Royce is a global company.Some parts of the engine are made and assembled at factoriesabroad.Getting them to the UK is Cath Taylor's job.

    • 18:12

      CATH TAYLOR: This is the turbines purchasing department,where we source parts from all over the world.And my role, in particular, is to sourcethe modules from mainland Europe.We're talking probably, at the moment,about 10 modules a week.

    • 18:32

      CATH TAYLOR [continued]: Very occasionally, we're affectedby the weather or the ferries, but the bulk of the modulesdo arrive on time.

    • 18:44

      NARRATOR: At the heart of every engine is a ring of 96 turbineblades that are the most amazing components in the whole engine.Jet engines work by sucking air into the coreand through multiple compressors.

    • 19:06

      NARRATOR [continued]: Squashed to a fiftieth of its volume,this air is forced into a combustion chamber,where it explodes with fuel to create a ferocious gas jet.This jet is met head-on by the turbine blades,spinning them so fast that each blade deliversthe same horsepower as a Formula One engine.

    • 19:32

      NARRATOR [continued]: The job these tiny blades have to dois unbelievably demanding.

    • 19:40

      ANDY MYLREA: The blade exists in a fairly harsh environment.It has to rotate about 10,000 revolutions per minute,with blade speed of about 800 miles per hour.The component itself operates at somethinglike 300 degrees above the melting point of the alloy.

    • 19:57

      NARRATOR: To operate at around 1700 degrees,they're designed not to melt.

    • 20:04

      ANDY MYLREA: Here you see the gas streamsmoving around the air flow.At the bottom of the blade is the fir tree area,which is used to hold the blade into the disk.Above it, you see the aerofoils with a pepperingof cooling holes.

    • 20:19

      NARRATOR: To stop the blade melting,Rolls-Royce designers used computer modelingto design a blade that has a precise pattern of tiny airpassages throughout.

    • 20:30

      ANDY MYLREA: Here we see what the blade would looklike if we didn't have it cold.And you can see that there are some areas of red, which meansthat the component is too hot.We put a cooling system inside of the blade, whichcools it down to safe levels.And that cooling system takes away the same amount of energythat would boil a kettle in a 20th of a second.

    • 20:50

      NARRATOR: But even with the cooling holes,no ordinary metal would be good enough.That's where the company's materials research laboratorycomes in, creating new metals with exactlythe physical and chemical qualities demandedby the designers.

    • 21:09

      NEIL GLOVER: To try and achieve the propertiesthat the designers want, we will design some trial compositionsof alloys, the different recipes, different blendsof the alloy constituents.And then we will test those samplesin different mechanical and environmental tests.And from that, we'll choose the best possible blendswhich will deliver exactly the balance of propertiesthat they require.

    • 21:30

      NARRATOR: Using electron microscopes,the materials scientists can preciselyanalyze the microstructure of the alloy,checking that the crystal structure and the mixtureof metals is exactly as intended.

    • 21:43

      ANDY MYLMEA: We've got a team of research specialists, about 25in the team here in the UK.And there are teams in Germany and the states as well.And we're trying to draw on all the expertise thatexists in the academic network around the world,to bring all the best expertise we can into Rolls-Royce.

    • 21:59

      NARRATOR: Even the finely balanced alloy recipeisn't the most advanced technology in the turbineblade.To cast the metal into its complex shape,a unique process is used, and it's another very closelyguarded secret.It's done at the purpose-built foundry in Derby,

    • 22:19

      NARRATOR [continued]: where one of the few people who knows the secretis casting engineer Owen Draper.

    • 22:23

      OWEN DRAPER: If you would take a normal piece of metaland solidify it from being molten,you'd end up with something that looksa bit like a granite worktop.Lots and lots of little different crystalsall in different directions.That's not very strong because the different crystals,the joints and the boundaries between them,they just cause weakness.So what we aim to do here is to create a single crystal.

    • 22:43

      OWEN DRAPER [continued]: A single crystal, no crystal boundaries,therefore, it's an awful lot stronger.

    • 22:50

      NARRATOR: The blade is made by growinga single crystal of metal into the correct shape.It's incredibly complex and demands a huge team of peopleworking around the clock.But it starts with an intricate hand-built model of the bladeand skilled hands like Maureen Hanke's

    • 23:09

      MAUREEN HANKE: I've been doing it on and off since '73.The skill is you've got to be very dexterous.Everything's got to be perfect.Everything's got to be smooth.

    • 23:24

      NARRATOR: The secret part is the waythe molten metal is cooled through a spiral tubeat the base of the mold.The tube prevents all but one crystal of solid metalfrom passing through, allowing that single crystalto grow throughout the mold.

    • 23:48

      NARRATOR [continued]: Imperfections could ruin the casting at any stage.Even the wax models are x-rayed by keen-eyed inspectorslike Jackie Brown.

    • 23:56

      JACKIE BROWN: Well, we're lookingfor defects in the core-- i.e., cracks, chips, voids.What is sentenced to scrap is broken in halfand put into the bin.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 24:24

      NARRATOR: Once cast, every single bladeis thoroughly checked, and checked againby eye, by computer, and by x-ray.Even then, they're far from ready.Each blade goes through another four days

    • 24:45

      NARRATOR [continued]: of precision finishing in the hands of machinistslike Steve Ball.

    • 24:50

      STEVE BALL: We're all very good at what we make.We don't sometimes share it.It's not until you see the Trent fleet fly over.I have made [INAUDIBLE].

    • 24:59

      NARRATOR: And because of the extraordinary demandson the blade, its dimensions must be accurate towithin a tenth of a hair's width.

    • 25:07

      STEVE BALL: We grind the fir treeto within seven microns, which is a hell of a tight limit.It goes under a load of 18 tons, that does.If we stretched it with 18 tons, re-gassed it,there would be nothing.Everything would be to the mark all the same.There's no alterations in the structure.

    • 25:29

      STEVE BALL [continued]: There's no tracking.There's no stretching of anything on there.And bearing in mind, you've got 96 of those in an engine set.Every one is like the first one.It's perfect.It's like a brand new baby.You treat it like that.That's why the focus of everybody in the shop's

    • 25:50

      STEVE BALL [continued]: the same, whether it's 6:00 in the morning, 6:00 at night,12:00 at night.Everybody's the same.The next one's always the most important,because all the rest are good, which means never [INAUDIBLE]come back.You can't argue with that.

    • 26:05

      NARRATOR: It's the skills of people like Steveand the cutting-edge technology that keeps Trent engines aheadof the game.But innovation is a risky business.Designing the Trent engine almost brought Rolls-Royceto its knees.In the early '70s, the company risked everythingon a revolutionary new engine for one

    • 26:26

      NARRATOR [continued]: of the world's first jumbo jets, the Lockheed TriStar,

    • 26:31

      PHIL RUFFLES: The production programs at Derby,by modern-day standards, were very low in volume.And Derby was a relatively small playerin the air engine market, although the only playeroutside of the United States in the commercial market.So getting the Lock TriStar program was absolutely vital.

    • 26:50

      NARRATOR: As a small player, Rolls-Royce had big ambitions..

    • 26:54

      PHIL RUFFLES: Well, the 211 was quite an advanced engineconcept, even by the standards of the day.It was the first three-shaft engine,whereas the competitors were offering two-shaft engines.So, as well as the technological advances,it was a completely new architecture.

    • 27:10

      NARRATOR: The design made the enginelighter and more efficient.It promised a crucial reduction in runningcosts and cheaper airfares.But actually, building the engineproved harder than anyone expected,and the costs spiraled with every advance they made.

    • 27:27

      PHIL RUFFLES: And all of these were put together in an enginenumber 10,011, which ran on February the 3rd, 1971, latein the afternoon.And the results were quite exceptional in that theywere very much better than anything we'd run before.So, understandably, we were quite elated.

    • 27:47

      NARRATOR: It seemed the company wasabout to achieve its goal with their new engine,but the elation was short-lived.

    • 27:54

      PHIL RUFFLES: Until the next day,when in the middle of the morning,we were all invited to go into the office,and the announcement was made that the company hadgone into receivership.

    • 28:05

      NARRATOR: It was too late.The project had bankrupted the company,and Derby was in crisis.

    • 28:11

      REPORTER: There's hardly a familyin the town that hasn't got someone working at Rolls,not just as manual workers and skilled craftsmen,but as research workers and designers.When the men came out at lunchtime,they were obviously shaken.

    • 28:24

      EMPLOYEE 1: Shocked, just shocked.

    • 28:26

      EMPLOYEE 2: It looks very bleak.That's all I can say, I mean, it looks very bleak, doesn't it?

    • 28:31

      REPORTER: Did you ever believe this could happen here?

    • 28:33

      EMPLOYEE1: Never.Never.So I've been here 27 years, and I've never thought anythinglike this could happen.

    • 28:38

      EMPLOYEE 3: I think they [INAUDIBLE], really,back us up a little bit.Oh, quite a lot, because this asshole name ended Royce's.

    • 28:46

      NARRATOR: The government came to the rescue,saving thousands of jobs and givingRolls-Royce and the people of Derby one last chance.

    • 28:53

      PHIL RUFFLES: The progress that wasmade during the following 12 months, 14months, post-bankruptcy, was quite remarkable.And we actually managed to get the engine into serviceat the end of April of 1972.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 29:21

      NARRATOR: When the TriStar finally flew,the hard work and revolutionary technology paid off.The engine became the jewel in Rolls-Royce's crown.And it still is today, as the basic designof the entire family of Trent jumbo jet engines.

    • 29:51

      NARRATOR [continued]: Launching Rolls-Royce onto the international stage,the engine helped them grow from a small playerto a global competitor.Today, Trent engines are fitted to halfthe world's big passenger jets, with new orders worth over 40billion pounds.

    • 30:25

      NARRATOR [continued]: At the heart of the Derby factoryis the main assembly line for all Trent engines.The line has to run like clockworkto take every build from first components to completed enginebang on schedule.

    • 30:41

      MARK GORMAN: From the moment we launch the kitto make the first internal module,right through to the engine being dispatched, it's 20 days.

    • 30:51

      NARRATOR: The countdown starts with assembly of the biggestand most complex modules.Hundreds of precision tooled blades hand-fittedand finished to perfection.Four days in, and work begins on the engine's Kevlar wrappedaluminum fan case.

    • 31:13

      NARRATOR [continued]: Over 4,000 engine control and transmission partsfitted and wired-- every one by hand.At the same time, an army of expert fittersbegin the nine-day task of fitting together the engine'seight separate modules.

    • 31:32

      RICH MAGUIRE: Let it go.No, you're way off.You're way off.

    • 31:45

      NARRATOR: The first five sections are stacked oneon top of the other.With gravity helping the process,it's a lot easier to achieve a perfect fit.

    • 32:08

      NARRATOR [continued]: Every bolt is adjusted to a precise torque,and there are moments that require absolute concentration.

    • 32:18

      RICH MAGUIRE: Going down.We're having to pass through the hole of the 04 module before wearrive at the coupling in the 03 module.And we take all the care we can not to touch the sides.If it takes the paint off the shaft,then we have to re-coat the paint for protection.

    • 32:41

      RICH MAGUIRE [continued]: It's the trickier of them all to fit, mainlybecause of the coupling that you can't see,and the adjustment is needed.Going down.

    • 33:14

      ADY KAY: And those are two [INAUDIBLE]that will ride up and rotate in this slot.You should hear as it clicks.And it clicked in now.

    • 33:25

      NARRATOR: One week into the build, the fanis assembled from its kit of blades.And with each one worth as much as a family car,it takes an expert touch.

    • 33:34

      ADY KAY: We prefer to wear gloves.It keeps fingerprints off the blades and this grip as well.Because it just [INAUDIBLE] the crap out of your fingers.

    • 33:42

      NARRATOR: You don't want to drop it, do you?

    • 33:43

      ADY KAY: Certainly not, certainly not.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 34:14

      NARRATOR: Before the fan can be fitted,the towering engine stack is craned onto its side.Two tons of precious metal swingingjust feet from the ground.Finally, in the position it'll spend the rest of its life,the engine's ready for the last two and biggest modules.

    • 35:03

      NARRATOR [continued]: The fan is a perfect fit.Its tips clear the lining of the caseby a fraction of a millimeter, yet in flight, will spin fasterthan the speed of sound.After two weeks of assembly, every completed engineis fitted with vast aerodynamic ductsand inched across to the factory's purpose-built flight

    • 35:24

      NARRATOR [continued]: test center.Here it'll be fired up and put through its pacesin a simulation of the harshest flight conditions--

    • 35:34

      DAVE BEMBOW: 3, 2, 1.

    • 35:40

      NARRATOR: --while engineers monitor vibration,rotation speeds, and temperaturesto ensure everything performs perfectly.

    • 35:47

      DAVE BEMBOW: Ratio's looking good.Max conditions now.Now it's down to 4.3, 2, 1, go.

    • 36:06

      NARRATOR: Signing off newly built enginesisn't all they do at the test center.Dave Bembow is in charge of testing prototypesfor new engine designs before they ever take to the sky.And that means carrying out teststhat are much more challenging.

    • 36:21

      DAVE BEMBOW: We run thousands of hours of testing.Our primary requirement is to showthat the engine is safe to fly, that it's airworthy.We conduct a number of tests to do that.But really, we're trying to meet the regulations of the safetyagencies.This engine is a flight test engine.And in that extent, it has a lot of instrumentationthat production engines wouldn't have.

    • 36:41

      DAVE BEMBOW [continued]: You can see here is right up off the engine and into the pylonso that we can record the data on the testbedwhen it's installed.

    • 36:48

      NARRATOR: Testing is so exhaustive.It can take two years for each new design.

    • 36:52

      DAVE BEMBOW: The cold-start test is a very important test.We need to be able to start the engine under cold conditions.Cold is minus 40 degrees.

    • 37:01

      NARRATOR: Removed from its giant freezer,everything must still work perfectlywhen the engine is started.

    • 37:06

      DAVE BEMBOW: We have to make surethat the gear will actually turn when we start the engine.Other tests, so water ingestion.

    • 37:15

      NARRATOR: Water is poured in at 30,000 gallons an hour.But there must be no loss of thrust.

    • 37:22

      DAVE BEMBOW: We have to demonstratethat the engine can cope with rain and hail ingestion,and that the compressors can cope with the amount of watergoing through the engine that you might get in flight,and that the compressors continue to run,and that the combustion system remains stable.But one of the key safety requirementswe have to ensure we meet is that in the unlikely eventof the release of a fan blade, that it's

    • 37:42

      DAVE BEMBOW [continued]: contained by the fan case.Well, it's an absolutely key test,in that we need to make sure that there'sno chance of the fan blade escaping.On the test, there's an explosive detonationwhich releases the blade from the disk at max take-off speedand flies it into the fan case.

    • 38:02

      DAVE BEMBOW [continued]: When this event happens, the energythat's generated by the blade coming offis about the equivalent to a 1 ton carbeing dropped off a 200 foot cliff.And the casing here, then has to retain that and ensurethat nothing is released outside of the fan case structure.So it's a hugely expensive test.

    • 38:22

      DAVE BEMBOW [continued]: But our commitment to safety and demonstratorrequires us to take that asset and to complete that test,irrespective of what will left with in the end.The engine is destroyed.Although it's contained the blade and run down safely,the components that are in that engine will not be used again.Effectively, that engine is then written off.

    • 38:50

      NARRATOR: Only by sacrificing an entire engine like thiscan they be sure the fan case really does its job.It's 6:00 in the morning and a startof another shift on the assembly line for fitter Andy Taylor.

    • 39:02

      ANDY TAYLOR: Goodnight, I just went around the cornerfrom this, that way.They probably need me to build the stacks.I work three shifts.I work mornings, afternoons, and nights.And I'm on mornings this week.Morning.

    • 39:18

      EMPLOYEE 8: Morning.

    • 39:19

      ANDY TAYLOR: That's the inspection department,very friendly people there.This is my engine for today.

    • 39:29

      NARRATOR: Andy's task today is to fitthe first of a network of sensors to the engine.

    • 39:36

      ANDY TAYLOR: These are connected to the thermal couples.And these tell the brain of the enginethat if there's an overheat problem,it'll tell it to halt something inside the engineto cool it down. or vice versa, if it's running too cold.

    • 39:51

      NARRATOR: When it's running, these sensorswill measure temperatures, pressures, speeds,and vibration at critical points in the engine.The sensors constantly feed that informationto the engine's own electronic management system-- its brain.That ensures performance is optimized at all times.

    • 40:13

      NARRATOR [continued]: But it doesn't stop there.Data collected from every Trent engine in the aircan even be transmitted via satellite back to Derby.It's received here, at the factory's 24 hour monitoringstation, manned by senior engineersto keep an eye on Rolls-Royce engines all over the world.

    • 40:32

      EMPLOYEE 9: Alan, we've got an issue on engine 4-1-9-9-2.And you can just see that the exhaust temperature is justgoing up on the engine.

    • 40:42

      NARRATOR: This is 21st century jet engine production--part of a high-tech support package thatgives them a commercial edge over competitors.

    • 40:51

      MARK KING: Increasingly now, as the airline buys a Rolls-Royceengine, we secure a service package with them,sometimes for as long as 20 years, wherewe will provide all the maintenance,all the spare parts for their engine.We will make sure they have engines availablewhenever they need them to support their aircraft.And they simply pay for the number of hours they fly.

    • 41:11

      NARRATOR: At peak times, the teammay be monitoring engines carrying 400,000 passengers.

    • 41:18

      GLEN SHAW: We're watching in the regionof 8,000 to 10,000 engines 24/7, 365 days a year.

    • 41:25

      EMPLOYEE 10: Well, and that's the question,is this pretty normal or is it not?

    • 41:28

      RICHARD BROWN: We're looking at speeds,pressures, temperatures.We're just nipping problems in the bud before they happen.so people aren't waiting around in airports for their flightthat's been canceled or delayed again.So that's ultimately what we're trying to do.

    • 41:43

      NARRATOR: The center receives a 1,500,000 measurementsevery day, from anything up to 1,200 Trent engines at a time.

    • 41:49

      GLEN SHAW: Typically, a minute after the aircrafthas sent that information, I can see it in graph form.

    • 41:56

      NARRATOR: The data is analyzed by computer.And if any unusual readings are detected,the engineers are automatically alerted.

    • 42:03

      GLEN SHAW: Probably 95% of them, wecan very quickly work out that there's nothing to worry about.

    • 42:09

      NARRATOR: All the Help Desk engineersare experienced enough to solve any problem that might crop up.

    • 42:14

      GLEN SHAW: I worked with Rolls-Royce engines hands-on,mainly in the Royal Navy, for 13 years.

    • 42:21

      NARRATOR: And they're just a phone call awayfrom maintenance crews at key airports around the globe.

    • 42:26

      GLEN SHAW: Yeah, I just sent you the emailthat just came for data going back to January of 2009,LP vibration in neutral.Do you think you could answer that?

    • 42:42

      NARRATOR: Back on the assembly line,this Trent engine has hit a problem just one week awayfrom its completion.The final module needed for the vertical stackhas been held up on its way from Europe.Without it, the stack can't move along the line.

    • 42:56

      ROY COSFORD: It's your turbine which actually drivesthe big fan at the front of the engine which wasmounted inside the fan case.

    • 43:05

      NARRATOR: The engine is stuck in the assembly tower.But the fitters can't afford to lose any time.Instead, they've identified parts that can be fitted aheadof schedule.

    • 43:15

      ROY COSFORD: It could arrive any time in the next hour.It could be in the next day.We don't really know.So what we've done, we've jumped aheadand carried on building to try and get things done.As it is at the moment, we can't move it.We can't pick it up without that final module.

    • 43:31

      NARRATOR: Any hold-up in the production processcould cost money.So tracking down a replacement module is critical.And Cath Taylor is straight on the phone.

    • 43:43

      CATH TAYLOR: Can you guarantee that it will reach itbefore 6:00 AM in the morning?Yes?Yes.

    • 43:54

      NARRATOR: At long last, it does arrive.And even though it's the middle of the night,the build will carry on.Working through the night is partof life for everyone on the production line.Investment in new technology is worthless without investmentin new people to keep manufacturing skills alive.

    • 44:19

      NEERAJ SUNGER: I'm currently an apprenticeat Derby, at Rolls-Royce, as a manufacturingengineer in engine maintenance.

    • 44:28

      NARRATOR: Apprentice schemes like thisare vital to British industry.

    • 44:35

      NEERAJ SUNGER: This is rotators.This is my business that I'm working in.They mainly, again, deal with the disk drums and shafts.And in here, we've got mainline shafts.So this is why they built the largestshafts which go through the main part of the engine.These are the coverings that go around them, so to make sure

    • 44:57

      NEERAJ SUNGER [continued]: that parts don't come damaged.We've got the various drilling machines down here.And then as you walk through here, this is where I work.This is the shaft supports office.

    • 45:22

      NEERAJ SUNGER [continued]: From a young age, I was always into building thingsand designing.And then the opportunity came around,of me getting the apprenticeship.And also, my family, my dad's an engineer.My granddad's an engineer.My uncle's and engineer.So I've had a little influence, as well, from them.But generally, I just like engineering.I like that fact of designing and building.

    • 45:41

      FUKRIT SUNGER: I Identified at an early agethat he liked engineering.Because I think when he was about eight,I bought him a K'nex, and in about the spaceof a couple of days, he had thrown away the manualand started making models of his own.

    • 46:01

      NARRATOR: Like every apprentice, Neerajcan expect to spend three years or morelearning the basic skills of his trade.So having a passion for it is really important.

    • 46:12

      NEERAJ SUNGER: Today I'm trying to make one of these controlrods, which, as you can see, is here and basically,allows the pilot to control the amount of air flowthat's going through the engine, and change various settingsin the engine, or the flaps and angles.They saw somebody who is 16, you work for Rolls-Royce.That's quite a-- they see you in a different light,

    • 46:33

      NEERAJ SUNGER [continued]: suddenly, like that you're something special and somethinga bit different.It's really quite prestigious to workin such a big company like this, certainly at the age that I am.

    • 46:43

      EMPLOYEE 7: So the first, data match blew it out one endto the other.

    • 46:46


    • 46:48

      EMPLOYEE 7: Second data match, 90 degrees to it.Check that with an engineer's square.

    • 46:52

      NEERAJ SUNGER: Now I'm thinking, wow, what a change,what a couple of years can make to a life.Because going from schoolboy to engineer,it's quite a radical change, and I'mquite pleased with that change.

    • 47:08

      NARRATOR: Once every engine is built and tested,its last stop is the customer delivery center,where it has to pass scrutiny by engine inspector Mike Riley.It's a huge responsibility.His will be the last eyes to see inside the enginebefore it takes to the sky.

    • 47:25

      MIKE RILEY: I've been at Rolls-Royce for five yearsnow, in fact, this month.Before that I was in the militaryas a helicopter technician on their first-line maintenance.I've actually wanted to work for Rolls-Royce for some timebefore and to work here.And it took me two years of applying before I could get in.So it's not the easiest place to get into.

    • 47:49

      NARRATOR: Mike's is one of the most specializedjobs on the assembly line.Like a doctor doing keyhole surgery,he uses a borescope to inspect the inside of the engine.

    • 48:06

      MIKE RILEY: Basically, every single rotating stagewithin the engine, we'll look at,plus the combustion chamber.Literally, the whole of the inside of the engineis borescoped.This is the first stage HP compressor.In the moment, I'm turning it rearwards.

    • 48:26

      MIKE RILEY [continued]: Usually the blades will come towards you.I'm just looking for any damage on the actual blade surface,leading or trailing edges.Occasionally, you can get a little bit confused in there,because there are so many blades.This is the first nozzle assemblythat we're looking at, with all the hundreds of cooling

    • 48:48

      MIKE RILEY [continued]: holes on it.It's possibly the hottest part of the engine here.You know, practically a surgeon?[CHUCKLES]

    • 49:05

      NARRATOR: After Mike's final inspection,another Trent 700 engine is bagged upand ready to leave the factory.In a few days, it'll be in France and fittedto another Airbus 330 plane, just oneof 300 engines built this year.These engines are Rolls-Royce's key to success.But it's keeping ahead of the competition

    • 49:26

      NARRATOR [continued]: that will secure the future for everyone in Derby.But right now, there's a big day ahead.AndToday, all eyes are on the performance

    • 49:48

      NARRATOR [continued]: of the Boeing Dreamliner and, of course, the Rolls-Royce enginesthat power it.It's a big day for the airplane out in Seattle,and an even bigger day for the team of engineers backin Derby, watching the preparations for the flight

    • 50:09

      NARRATOR [continued]: live online.As the aircraft prepares to take off,and the engine's fired up to full power,there's nothing anyone can do but wait, watch, and seewhat happens next.

    • 50:22

      ANNOUNCER: And here she comes, the 787 Dreamliner.[CHEERS]

    • 50:26

      SPECTATOR: Way to go, Rolls-Royce![LAUGHTER]

    • 50:31

      NARRATOR: It's a massive coup to providethe engines for a new airliner's first flight.And it's something to be very proud of for the people whobuild them.

    • 50:48

      MARK KING: Quite an emotional momentfor everybody involved, particularly for all the guyshere who have built the engines, all the engineers thathave designed it over the last four, five, six years.Some of these people have devoted their entire lifetimeat work to this.

    • 51:04

      ANDY GEER: Ecstatic.Really, really delighted to see the aircraft take offafter what's been a pretty long and tiring journeyto get this far, really.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 51:24

      NARRATOR: But the success of the flightcan only really be gauged when orders for the new enginestart coming in.

    • 51:31

      MARK KING: Great news.Another order for five Trent 1000 powered Boeing 787aircraft were placed this morning.Particularly good, because it's quite a tough marketat the moment.And so it does show testament to the technology in this engine,that even in this market, people are still placing orders.It's a great day to be in the job.It's a great day to be in Rolls-Royce.It's a great day for Derby.

    • 51:53

      MARK KING [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]

A Jumbo Jet Engine

View Segments Segment :


The Rolls-Royce plant in the city of Darby designs and manufactures some of the finest jumbo jet engines in the world. This documentary follows its production process and tells the story of how designing the Trent engine nearly bankrupted the company and the community that relies on it.

A Jumbo Jet Engine

The Rolls-Royce plant in the city of Darby designs and manufactures some of the finest jumbo jet engines in the world. This documentary follows its production process and tells the story of how designing the Trent engine nearly bankrupted the company and the community that relies on it.

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