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Volvo Aero involved in both engine alternatives for the Airbus A380

The aircraft manufacturer Airbus is hosting a large inauguration ceremony in Toulouse, France on Tuesday, January 18, for the new A380 jumbojet.
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Volvo Aero is involved in both of the two engine makes that will power the Airbus 380. Volvo Aero is a program partner in the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine and is supplying components to the competing GP7000 engine.

In practice, this means that regardless of the engine type selected by customers when they purchase the four-engine A380, employment will be created for Volvo Aero.

In total, Volvo Aero is expected to sell engine components to the A380 for at least SEK 11 billion.

The Trent 900 was designed specifically for the A380. The engine has a thrust of 70,000 pounds when the aircraft is placed in service in 2006, but it will be certified for 80,000 pounds of thrust to ensure that it will be adequate for future further development of the A380.

The idea is that an airline should only need one standard engine, the Trent 900, for its entire fleet of A380 aircraft, regardless of the aircraft versions it operates.

Volvo Aero’s responsibility in cooperation with Rolls-Royce covers development, design, production and product support of the intermediate compressor case, which is one of the Swedish company’s specialties.

Made of cast titanium, the intermediate compressor case is both an important and complex engine component. It has interfaces with many other engine components (more than 50), which makes the design work particularly challenging. The intermediate compressor case must transfer load from the engine to the aircraft trough the engine mounts and it must have high stiffness and be able to withstand high temperatures and high loads while at the same time being lightweight.

To ensure that the development assignment was carried out optimally, a full team of some ten engineers from Volvo Aero was transferred to Rolls-Royce in Derby, UK during the development period, which began in May 2001. This has resulted in many trips to Derby during the past three years by a large number of engineers in Trollhättan.

The timetable in this type of major project is highly demanding. Despite many problems with the supply of castings from suppliers, Volvo Aero never affected scheduled deliveries of engines to Airbus. Currently, production of the final components to the test flight program is under way and series deliveries will begin in early spring 2005.

All critical milestones for the Trent 900 were met, despite the tight timetable. The most recent was engine certification, which was approved on October 29, 2004.

The first A380 flight with the Trent 900 engines is scheduled for the first quarter of 2005 and first delivery to a customer, Singapore Airlines, will be made in the second quarter of 2006.

For the Trent 900, Volvo Aero is a risk- and revenue-sharing partner, while in the other case, the GP7000, the company functions only as a partner with MTU, with the task of being responsible for the low-pressure turbine case. It took only six months from the date that the contract was signed for production to start up in Trollhättan, which is an exceptionally short time in this context. The LP turbine case is a large casing with thin cross section. Machinig of this type of component requires very complex fixtures. Volvo Aero though its specialization has obtained a market share of > 75% (large commercial engine market) for LP Turbine cases.

Volvo Aero has participated in production technology development by manufacturing a large number of development components, all of which were delivered on time.

A very close cooperation with its partners was a condition for the team from Volvo Aero to succeed in meeting the highly demanding timetable, without jeopardizing quality in any respect.

The first series deliveries for the GP7000 will begin on June this year.

The GP7000 has a thrust of between 70,000 to 84,000 pounds.

Production of the Trent 900 and GP7000 is expected to extend over at least 20 years. At full production, series manufacturing is expected to employee 35 to 40 persons, of which some 15 with the GP7000 and slightly more than 20 with the Trent 900.   

January 18, 2005

For further information, contact
Robert Lundberg, +46 (0)520-936 61, or +46 (0)70-577 53 75

To editors:

Photos of the A380 and of Volvo Aero’s components are available in our image bank on the Internet, at
http://www.volvo.com/volvoaero/global/en-gb/newsmedia/image+bank/engine+components/