“This joint venture was established to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the power gearbox. It provides outstanding production engineering for the power gear drive train components,” explains the managing director of the Dahlewitz site, Paul O’Neil.
The latest developments at Dahlewitz form part of a long-term strategic commitment to manufacturing in Germany. It began in 1990 when the Rolls-Royce Group founded a German company to develop civil jet engines in partnership with BMW. Rolls-Royce Germany, a 100 per cent subsidiary, is Germany’s only fully certified engine manufacturer with complete systems capability for the design, production and after-sales support of civil and military turbine engines. In all, more than €3.2bn has been invested in the production facilities and engine programs at Dahlewitz and the company’s other site near Frankfurt. Across the two sites there are more than 3,600 employees.
As far back as 2008, Dahlewitz was developed as a test center for the entire Rolls-Royce Group with an investment of €65m, primarily for the mechanical and structural behavior of gas turbine components. Up to 40 different types of tests have since been carried out, including acceleration, operating stability and vibration tests.
“Over more than two decades Dahlewitz has established itself within the company as being highly innovative, reliable and focused to deliver products meeting the highest standards,” says O’Neil proudly. And there’s more excitement in store: “Later this year, we will also start assembling Trent XWB engines.”
The financial results for the Rolls-Royce Group in 2016 showed the R&D expenditure was £97m (€91m) up on 2015, with civil aerospace accounting for £53m (€61m) of that increase. The costs of developing a new engine are staggering because of the sheer complexity of the tasks required, but long-term goals remain a priority for the group, as emphasized by CEO Warren East in the financial report. This year net R&D expenditure is expected to be in the region of £950m (€1.1bn)