Specialist heavy-handling equipment for the latest engine test bed at the Rolls-Royce plc aerospace engine facility in Derby has been provided by Sheffield-based Mechan Limited through a £1.6m contract with Cullum Detuners.
A Part of the handling scheme Mechan was the chosen supplier of an overhead, automated jet engine transportation system for the new Test Bed 58, having previously supplied a system for the adjacent Test Bed 57 some years earlier.
The shared preparation shop arrangements for Test Beds 57 and 58 necessitated a system that would permit interchangeability. As supplier of the earlier system, Mechan was able to guarantee that this criterion would be fully met.
The new transportation system comprises a series of hoists, monorail installations and a travelling bridge to the test-bed, where a roof-mounted turntable permits rotation of the engine. A refined control system ensures safe and efficient operation.
Another essential requirement was that the transportation system would be able to withstand the stresses of demanding test procedures. The robustness and durability of Mechan’s heavy-handling systems were already proven at Derby and elsewhere.
The range of certification tests to be carried out on Test Bed 58 will include fan blade containment, bird ingestion and cold start performance. This capability, plus the sheer scale of the ‘twin’ 57 and 58 Beds and their silencing equipment, makes the combined complex the most advanced indoor jet engine test centre in the world.
Original Mechan equipment in 57 test bed“In the 1990s, Mechan manufactured and installed a 35-tonne capacity overhead handling system at Derby to transfer Rolls-Royce Trent series engines between the preparation area and Test Bed 57,” says Mechan managing director Richard Carr. “We were therefore well placed to bid for the Test Bed 58 contract. Our long experience in supplying heavy-handling equipment with sophisticated control systems for the rail industry meant that we were unfazed by the size and weight of the largest Roll-Royce engines, whilst appreciating the need for delicate as well as muscular handling."
“The latest variants of the remarkably successful Trent series have just got bigger and bigger. Trent 900 engines for the Airbus A380 super jumbo are the largest engines ever built by Rolls-Royce at almost three metres in diameter and they weigh in at 14,190 pounds.” Mechan maintains that a ‘repeat order’ on this scale for a company of Rolls-Royce’s stature and an earlier installation of Airbus wing transporters for BAE at Broughton confirm its credentials to participate in more key projects for the aerospace industry.