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Innovation funds help Rolls-Royce to open new factory in Bristol

Government-backed £4 million project to develop a composite electrical harness for aero-engines creates low carbon technology jobs.

Research and innovation funding from a government-backed public-private sector partnership has helped aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce establish a new advanced manufacturing facility in Bristol.

It is likely to employ as many as 40 people when in full production next year.

The factory, located on its Patchway complex, is part of the company’s SILOET programme, designed to accelerate the development and introduction of low-carbon aircraft engine technology.

The two-year, £4 million project, called ENABLES, had support from the aerospace R&D funding programme, a partnership between the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK.

A notable achievement during the two years of the project up to the end of 2014 was developing the capability to use composite materials to embed electrical harnesses.

This high-temperature, composite raft technology is earmarked for Trent 1000-TEN and Trent 7000 engines that will power Boeing 787 and Airbus A330neo airliners from next year.

The advantages lie in:

  • reducing the number of parts around an engine casing
  • cutting the time needed for engine build, strip and overhaul
  • trimming weight

Eight of the current 20-strong workforce at the new factory benefited from retraining after transferring from another part of Rolls-Royce’s operations.

Rolls-Royce worked on ENABLES with a number of partners, including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham, the National Composites Centre (NCC) at Emersons Green, near Bristol, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry.

The Author

Gemma Gaughan
Media Researcher
BiP Solutions

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The Author

Gemma Gaughan
Media Researcher
BiP Solutions

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BiP Solutions