Rolls-Royce is experiencing delays in sourcing turbine blades and compressor blades for Trent 1000 engines. Those are the turbofan engines that power some Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and recently some of those engines have exhibited premature corrosion and metal fatigue. causing Rolls-Royce to institute accelerated inspections to locate the engines that require repair and refurbishment.
The particular problem is corrosion-related fatigue cracking in the engines’ intermediate-pressure turbine (IPT) blades, defects that may result in engine failure. Working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Administration, as well as Boeing, Rolls has increased its inspection frequency for several hundred of the Trent 1000 engines installed in Dreamliners operated by various airlines around the world.
The Trent 1000 is a high-bypass, turbofan engine developed by Rolls-Royce and introduced in 2006. It is one of two engines designs offered by Boeing for its twin-engine, wide-body commercial jets, and it was the launch engine on both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants.
According to published reports citing unnamed sources, supplies of the replacement compressor blades are running about three days behind schedule, prolonging the time that the engines are out of service to airlines.
The turbine blades are investment-cast titanium parts that Rolls produces in its own operation, and it is due to introduce a new version of that part in coming weeks.
The compressor blades are produced by joint-venture supplier, and Rolls is expediting the development of a new version of those parts, which would be retrofitted to the affected engines.