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ITP Aero uses 3D printing to design and manufacture tail bearing housing for Rolls-Royce UltraFan engine

ITP Aero has designed and manufactured the tail bearing housing (TBH) for the first Rolls-Royce UltraFan demonstrator engine using additive technology.

TBH is a key structural component designed to withstand loads for all operational conditions. It houses part of the bearings that support the shaft for the fan, the main propulsion element of the engine.

The additive technology – also known as 3D printing – will enable a better use of energy and raw materials in the manufacture of the engine component compared to current generation processes, ITP Aero said.

The new generation Rolls-Royce UltraFan engine is expected to be 25 per cent more fuel efficient than the original Trent 700 and capable of running on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel, according to Rolls-Royce.

“Our commitment to additive manufacturing technology is part of our focus on digitalisation in order to make ITP Aero a more agile, resilient and sustainable leader,” said ITP Aero’s executive director of technology and engineering Erlantz Cristobal.

“We are proud to apply this technology to a programme such as UltraFan, that we strongly believe will be a key pillar to make aviation an increasingly sustainable industry in the next decades.”

The UltraFan TBH features removable sound attenuation panels, also manufactured by 3D printing, achieving a reduction of 50 per cent of the sound power emitted by the turbine.

ITP Aero said noise reduction will be a key driver for future technologies to achieve the ACARE target of perceived noise reduction of ~65 per cent by 2050.

ITP Aero has an additive manufacturing cell and a team exclusively dedicated to the additive technology production method at its facilities in Zamudio, Spain.

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