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Rolls-Royce invests in research and factories to support future growth

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, today announced plans to invest in four new factories and two advanced research programmes in the UK.

These investments will enable Rolls-Royce to respond to anticipated growth in its aerospace and civil nuclear markets and will create or secure over 800 jobs in innovative high-value manufacturing programmes, largely in Assisted Areas.

The research programmes will focus on critical technologies to reduce the CO2 emissions of future aircraft programmes and will accelerate the development of new manufacturing methods that create significant competitive advantage for the UK.

Rolls-Royce is also separately announcing today the development of a new wide chord fan blade factory in Singapore.

Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive, commented: "These are significant investments in capability and research which reflect our commitment to continue to invest in the future of our business, even at this stage in the economic cycle. We are delighted that the British Government will be supporting these projects."

New UK factories

Rolls-Royce will invest over £300 million in four factories in the UK, with £45 million of support to be provided by the UK Government. The factories comprise:

1. Casting facility for single crystal (SX) turbine blades

Turbine blades are important and highly complex aero engine components. Rolls-Royce will establish a new casting facility, where it will develop new, high-productivity manufacturing processes before incorporating them into production. The factory will manufacture advanced turbine blade castings for the Company's most modern, high-thrust engines.

2. Advanced disc manufacturing facility

Discs are critical rotating parts used in fans, compressors and turbines. Rolls-Royce will establish a new disc machining factory that will deliver a step-change improvement in the manufacture of fan and turbine discs for commercial and military aero engines. A suite of manufacturing processes, developed in the advanced manufacturing research centres, will be demonstrated in the factory before being introduced into production.

3. Military wide chord fan blade (WCFB) facility

Rolls-Royce has unique capability in the production of hollow WCFBs, which are central to the performance of both military and commercial aero engines.

The Group is positioned on the engine programme of the Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. Rolls-Royce is providing hollow blisked fans for the LiftSystem® on the VSTOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) version of the aircraft and for the F136 alternative engine. It will extend its facility in Barnoldswick, UK, where it currently manufactures large WCFBs for commercial aircraft, to manufacture advanced military blades, investing in new capacity to meet planned increases in engine production.

Additional capability for the manufacture of civil wide chord fan blades will be located in a new factory in Singapore announced separately today, which will complement the existing WCFB facility at Barnoldswick.

4. Civil nuclear facility

Rolls-Royce will build a new factory to manufacture, assemble and test components for new civil nuclear power stations. These include pressure vessels, heat exchangers and other large and complex reactor parts, manufactured to exacting nuclear standards.

The facility will have strong links with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, announced by the UK Government on 15 July 2009, in which Rolls-Royce will be the leading industrial partner.

The Group is consulting globally with appropriate employee representatives on the UK and Singapore investments.

New research and technology programmes in the UK The company and its partners will also invest in new research programmes. These comprise:

1. Research into low carbon aircraft engine technologies

Rolls-Royce and its partners are investing in a Rolls-Royce-led research programme valued at around £90 million that is central to the development of low carbon aircraft engine technologies. The UK Government will provide £45 million through its Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to support the research. The TSB is currently considering a research programme called SILOET (Strategic Investment in Low Carbon Engine Technology), which is expected to deliver a substantial improvement in CO2 emissions and hence engine fuel economy.

2. SAMULET (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through Leading Environmental Technologies)

SAMULET is a Rolls-Royce-led collaborative programme to accelerate the development of manufacturing and product technologies. It will focus on productivity and environmental improvements, including efficient advanced manufacturing processes and lower engine fuel consumption. The programme will be closely linked with the advanced manufacturing research centres. It will be valued at up to £90 million over four years and is receiving support of £28.5 million from the TSB and £11.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with further support under discussion with regional bodies.

Press release issued by Rolls-Royce plc on July 28, 2009


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