GKN Aerospace delivers rotating frames for Clean Sky open rotor engine

GKN Aerospace has delivered the two rotating frames for a major research programme exploring open rotor aero-engine designs and with the goal of achieving a 20%* reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. 

The Open Rotor engine project is part of the Clean Sky** Sustainable and Green Engines (SAGE) programme, a 50% European Union-funded, multi-partner activity aimed at lowering fuel consumption and emissions through more efficient aero-engine architectures.

The company has delivered the front and aft rotating frames for the SAGE2 Open Rotor demonstrator engine to Snecma S.A. These rotating frames act as hubs for the two rows of propellers and are located in the propulsor module at the rear of the engine. In total the company will deliver 27 individual parts for these rotating frame modules. GKN Aerospace deliveries will be completed by the end of February in preparation for engine assembly and testing at the Snecma test centre in Istre, France. The test programme is scheduled to complete this year. 

Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President, Research and Technology at GKN Aerospace Engine Systems said: “The challenge with the design and manufacture of rotating frames lies in the fact that they have the geometric complexity of a traditional static turbine structure but, because they rotate and transfer torque to the propellers they are safety critical parts with quality requirements, stress concentrations and load paths that are completely different to current static frame designs.” 

Runnemalm continues: “We have applied a number of novel, precision manufacturing technologies - including new welding and machining techniques - to produce these structures and have evolved new non-destructive inspection methods which will inspect these complex geometries to the level required for critical rotating parts. Throughout this development programme we have worked closely with the Swedish manufacturing technology centre, (Produktionstekniskt Centrum - PTC), at Innovatum in Trollhättan as well as a number of smaller, highly specialised Swedish companies.” 

GKN Aerospace aft rotating frame for the SAGE 2 open rotor demonstrator, ready for delivery from the GKN Aerospace facility in Trollhättan, Sweden

Photo caption: GKN Aerospace aft rotating frame for the SAGE 2 open rotor demonstrator, ready for delivery from the GKN Aerospace facility in Trollhättan, Sweden. 


Editor’s Notes:
*As defined by the Clean Sky programme - see below.

**Clean Sky is the most ambitious aeronautical research programme ever launched in Europe. Its mission is to develop breakthrough technologies to significantly increase the environmental performances of airplanes and air transport, resulting in less noisy and more fuel efficient aircraft, hence bringing a key contribution in achieving the Single European Sky environmental objectives. The Clean Sky JTI (Joint Technology Initiative) was born in 2008 and represents a unique Public-Private Partnership between the European Commission and the industry. It is managed by the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking (CSJU) until 31 December 2017. For more information go to: http://www.cleansky.eu/content/homepage/about-us
GKN Aerospace Engine Systems is a strategic partner for the full duration of the Clean Sky programme.