Rolls-Royce plc invests in knowledge

Rolls-Royce has invested over $2.5 million in state-of-the-art design automation software and consulting from Knowledge Technologies International (KTI).

Rolls-Royce has invested over $2.5 million in design automation software and consulting from Knowledge Technologies International (KTI). EDS, the IT services provider to Rolls-Royce has recommended the KBO Environment with ‘ICAD Built In’. It is being used by Rolls-Royce to speed development of its Trent 500 series aero-engines destined for use in the Airbus A340-500/600, a 380-capacity intercontinental passenger jet, set for first delivery in 2002.

KTI’s knowledge-based software allows Rolls-Royce to capture its corporate knowledge base along with best practice and performance, manufacturing and cost criteria into a virtual model. This allows engineers to quickly and accurately explore and test multiple ‘what ifs’ against all known constraints. Because they are able to do this, they can optimise designs in record time.

The KBO Environment is also being used within several other design areas at Rolls-Royce. The savings in time, cost and man-hours have been dramatic. One example is a turbine throat area calculation. This used to be a two-week job by a skilled CAD modeller. It is now a two hour ICAD task by an aerodynamicist or designer – a time and cost saving of 97.5%. Another example is the creation of a 3D solid model of a turbine blade. This used to take a month on CAD. It can now be done in 1 day on ICAD – a time and cost saving of 96.6%. Another benefit is the ability to maximise quality, accelerate innovation and optimise performance.

Rolls-Royce is also taking a lead on its rivals by using ICAD in a new area – to explore manufacturing gains. It is currently in the preliminary stages of tooling automation, which is expected to result in optimised compressor and turbine-blade castings. This purchase of KTI’s KBO Environment will be used throughout Rolls-Royce including its Derby and Bristol facilities in England, as well as Rolls- Royce Corporate in Indianapolis, Indiana and Rolls-Royce Deutschland in Berlin, Germany. Rolls-Royce has also purchased application consulting from KTI as well as maintenance on the software.

Chic Connolly, Staff Technologist, Turbines, Rolls-Royce plc, said, “The dynamics and timescales present in today’s global economy demand that we are agile and rapid in offering product solutions. These solutions need to exploit and focus the intellectual capital built up inside our company over many decades. By using ICAD technology, Rolls-Royce with EDS have captured the process knowledge. This provides engineers with applications that both dramatically reduce the lead time and cut the cost of components and systems which highly influence our business.”

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