Kobe Steel Begins Supplying Titanium For Airbus A380 Rolls-Royce Jet Engines


Kobe Steel, Ltd. has begun supplying titanium for use in Rolls-Royce's Trent 900 aircraft engine, developed for the Airbus A380. The Airbus A380 will be the world's biggest passenger plane when it goes into commercial service in 2006.

Kobe Steel furnishes its double-melt Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy rings to Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which processes the metal into intermediate pressure compressor casings. The completed casings are then shipped to Rolls-Royce for fabrication in the Trent 900 engine.

The initial shipment began in January this year. Over an initial five-year period, Kobe Steel will be the sole supplier of titanium rings to Kawasaki for the casings of the Trent 900 engine, with Kawasaki the sole supplier of the casings to Rolls-Royce. Kobe Steel's many years of collaboration with Kawasaki were instrumental in gaining the order from Rolls-Royce.

The Trent 900 engine is the launch engine for the A380 and will be used on 48 per cent of the aircraft already on order, according to Rolls-Royce. So far, Airbus has 129 firm orders for the 555-seat A380.

Rolls-Royce uses Kobe's titanium to manufacture compressor disks for IAE V2500 jet engine

Kobe Steel, Ltd. is supplying Rolls-Royce with titanium forgings used in high pressure compressor disks for the IAE V2500 engine, the engine of choice for Airbus A320 family aircraft. Kobe Steel makes the triple-melt Ti-6Al-4V forgings at its Takasago Works in Takasago, Japan and delivers them directly to Rolls-Royce's plant in Oberursel, Germany. This arrangement is supported by trading company Marubeni Corporation, a risk sharing partner with Rolls-Royce. The supply contract for the disk forgings covers a period of three years, from 2003 to 2005. The first shipment went out in January this year.

This is the first time that a Japanese titanium manufacturer has been qualified to directly supply titanium products to Rolls-Royce, one of the world's top three jet engine makers. Meeting stringent quality assurance standards, Kobe Steel has reached a significant milestone in its relationship with Rolls-Royce. The direct transaction is recognition of Kobe Steel as a quality supplier of titanium products.

Forgings for high pressure compressor disks are some of the most critical titanium products to manufacture, from the standpoint of toughness and metal cleanliness. Of the numerous components that go into jet engines, rotating parts require extremely high toughness, and impurities in the metal can affect the strength of the material.

IAE International Aero Engines is a multinational aero engine consortium with shareholders from four countries and three continents. As a leading partner, Rolls-Royce is responsible for the design and the manufacturing of the high pressure compressor and the final assembly of the IAE V2500 engine. Other IAE shareholders comprise Pratt & Whitney, the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation, and MTU Aero Engines.

IAE's 22,000 - 33,000 lb thrust V2500-A5 engine is the quietest engine available for the Airbus A320 family. It is the only engine that meets the newest Chapter 4 ICAO noise requirement for all A320 family aircraft. With an average market share of 57% over the past six years IAE's V2500 has become the engine of choice for Airbus single aisle aircraft. More than 950 V2500-powered aircraft have been delivered and the worldwide fleet has accumulated over 27 million flying hours.

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