Rolls-Royce Starts Construction of U.S. Machining Plant

Virginia plant to produce discs, blisks for civil and military aerospace engines


Rolls-Royce recently started construction on a new component finishing plant in suburban Washington, DC, a $500-million project that will be its largest North American manufacturing facility when fully completed. The 1,000-acre site in Prince Georges County, VA, represents an initial investment of about $170 million, according to Rolls, and it will feature space to accommodate suppliers' and partners` co-location in the future.

The company manufactures engine systems for civil and military aerospace, marine, and energy markets. The Crosspointe plant in Virginia will finish-machine aerospace components and products, including turbofan discs for some of Rolls’ civil aerospace engines. Examples of these are the Trent 1000, Trent 900 and Trent XWB engines for the Boeing 787, Airbus A380, and A350 XWB respectively.

Discs are the part of a turbofan engine that contains the blades. Disc production at Crosspointe could begin as early as 2011.

Rolls also projects a second building on the site for machining blisks, i.e., bladed discs. These are gas-turbine engine components that incorporate fan blades and discs into a single piece. Blisks manufactured at Crosspointe would be used in the F136 engine for the Joint Strike Fighter.

A Rolls spokeswoman explained that the forged blisks would be manufactured elsewhere and delivered to the site for finish machining.

"Rolls-Royce is investing in America," stated James M. Guyette, president & CEO, Rolls-Royce North America. "This is a historic day for us as we begin construction on our first manufacturing facility built from-the-ground-up in the U.S. Crosspointe will be a flagship operation for Rolls-Royce, and the significant investment we are making here will enhance our competitiveness in global markets and position us for future growth."

The Crosspointe campus also will be home will to the Commonwealth Center of Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS.) CCAM is a higher-education partnership founded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rolls-Royce, and other partners. CCAM is intended to be a world-class research facility for design and manufacturing technologies. CCAPS is a virtual research and technology center.

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