Passing the test
Managing the most advanced engine test facilities in the world
Today, Rolls-Royce measures over 3,000 data parameters at up to 100,000 samples per second when testing an aero engine. “There are many advantages in digital recording. As is often the case with information, the real challenge is working out how to make the best use of it,” says Neill Forrest, Senior Engineering Fellow- Verification Test and Measurement for the company.
“We are recording about 200 times the amount of data compared to at the start of the digital age. We are probably the world leader in digital high-speed photography to record engine tests,” he adds.
Rolls-Royce has some of the largest and most advanced engine test facilities in the world. In Derby, UK, 58 Test Bed can manage a thrust capability of 150,000lb with an airflow capacity of four tonnes per second. Rolls-Royce will soon certify its most powerful engine at 97,000lb thrust so there is still plenty of scope for growth.
The company gathers engine test data through a complex measurement capability and it is used in three ways: first is verification; then validation of analysis methods and, finally, engine pass-off. In measurement you are looking at the air/gas flow and areas like vibration. In verification it is proving that the engine is doing exactly what it was designed to do and in ‘pass-off’ the engine is being tested as part of a final inspection before delivery to a customer.