GKN Aerospace in Sweden – based 70 kilometres north of Gothenburg - designs, manufactures and delivers large engine components for a range of customers including Rolls-Royce.
For the past four years of my 26-year-career, I’ve been working as Programme Manager for the Trent XWB. In my spare time, like many parents, I drive my family around to their various activities and to visit friends. When I can, I take some time for myself to play golf, ski-cross-country and exercise, and that helps me relax.
The Trent XWB engine has challenged all of us to think differently about how we design and build each component and in particular the intercase. Until now, we used just two large castings, from a limited number of global suppliers, that were welded together to make a single part. By working closely with Rolls-Royce as our customer, we knew we had to open up our supplier base, to improve competition, and get more control over the weight and complexity of each piece. We now have something that is unique and looks completely different, because it’s the first time we have designed and developed one in-house using our own design function. We’re using more than 20 smaller castings that are then welded together to make each one and it’s more complex yet lighter than ever before. Because it’s easier to make a small casting, we also benefit from a higher quality product that adds more value to the overall programme.
We have experience of producing high volume components for other customers, and while it takes a dedicated team to bring everything together, we’re confident we can match the production schedule and support Rolls-Royce in making one engine a day from 2016.
I’ve had the chance to get close to the engine, but not the aircraft itself. We are all very proud to be on the A350 XWB, when you see the aircraft actually lifting off it becomes very real.