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GKN Aerospace has delivered the two rotating frames for a major research program exploring open rotor aero-engine designs with a 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) program, a 50% European Union-funded, multi-partner activity aimed at lowering fuel consumption and emissions through more efficient aero-engine architectures.
Clean Sky is the most ambitious aeronautical research program 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.
GKN Aerospace 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 center in Istre, France. The test program is scheduled to complete this year.
According to Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President of Research and Technology at GKN Aerospace Engine Systems: “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. 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.”
The Clean Sky JTI (Joint Technology Initiative) was born in 2008 and represents a unique Public-Private Partnership between the European Commission and the aerospace industry. It is managed by the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking (CSJU) until 31 December 2017.
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