MDS partners with Rolls-Royce to build world’s largest gas turbine engine test facility

MDS Aero Support Corporation Press Release | May 4, 2018

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 43 seconds.

Ottawa-based MDS Aero Support Corporation, a global leader in gas turbine engine solutions, announced on May 3, 2018, that construction is beginning on its new turnkey gas turbine engine test facility in Derby, U.K., for Rolls-Royce.

Artist's rendering of facility
The facility is scheduled to be fully operational by 2020. Rolls-Royce Image

The indoor test bed will be the largest of its type in the world–a footprint of approximately 7,500 m2 or 1.85 acres–and will be capable of testing many of the world’s largest engines. The facility will also feature MDS’s next-generation test systems, with new capabilities to accommodate engines of the future.

The facility, which is scheduled to be fully operational by 2020, will be used to test a variety of Rolls-Royce engines, including the Trent XWB (which powers the Airbus A350), the Trent 1000 (used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner), and the next-generation UltraFan engine, which is expected to launch in 2025.

Using the latest in advanced digital technology as well as X-ray capabilities, the facility will be capable of conducting endurance and water ingestion tests, among others.

“This new test bed will support Rolls-Royce’s ongoing industrial transformation and provide important additional capacity and flexibility as our civil aerospace business continues to ramp up engine production to enable us to deliver on a record order book,” said Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace Division.

As the prime contractor, MDS will be responsible for all aspects of the project, from design to onsite construction management. It will also supply all of the test systems, including aerodynamic and acoustic elements, a thrust measurement system, engine adapters for current and future engines, and mechanical and fluid support systems.

Another feature will be MDS’s latest data acquisition and controls system, nxDAS.

In designing a myriad of highly unique solutions for the facility, MDS also worked closely with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The close relationship between MDS and the NRC enabled highly complex solutions to be vetted and tested in NRC’s state-of-the-art facilities–a critical part of the initial planning and proposal process, and a step that far outpaces the competition.

“We are very excited to see this project getting off the ground,” said John Jastremski, president and CEO of MDS.

“Rolls-Royce produces world-class power and propulsion systems, and we’re happy to be able to provide them with a world-class testing facility to ensure their test systems are as innovative as their products.”

Jastremski also noted that, as engine test facilities get larger and larger, aeroacoustic research continues to be paramount.

For that reason, MDS has been conducting extensive aeroacoustic scale-model research since 2016 with its partners at the NRC.

“The NRC’s continued support and expertise, combined with MDS’s highly skilled aerodynamicists and gas turbine experts, are critical to the delivery of this world-class facility for Rolls-Royce,” he said.

Specializing in the provision of aviation, industrial, and marine solutions, MDS builds the world’s most advanced, one-of-a-kind gas turbine engine and engine component test facilities.

With projects in more than 20 countries, it is at the forefront of research and development and continually drives innovation.

MDS clients span the world’s most elite companies, including Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, Siemens, Solar Turbines, Lockheed Martin, MTU, Snecma Aircraft Engines, and Air France.


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