Integrated Accessories Raft System (ENABLES)
Project ENABLES is a carbon fibre raft which embeds a flexible printed circuit board and harness cables, to replace traditional electrical Sub-System dressings. The ENABLES project was initiated to address build time challenges and improve in-service reliability relative to traditional fan case dressings.
The first evolution of the ENABLES technology was developed jointly between Rolls-Royce and bf1systems, an SME, within the Innovate UK and Clean Sky programmes. This project further developed and optimised the manufacturing process for these components, with collaboration throughout the ENABLES project extending to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Rotherham and the National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol.
The current fan case external dressings on a typical large civil engine consist of around 2,700 individually assembled parts, and can take up to 600 hours to build. The volume of parts and the complexity around fitting the parts to a fan case can lead to issues in service. The ENABLES system aims to remove this complexity by embedding components into single demountable components (rafts) that can be easily fitted and removed using advanced composites.
The ENABLES system embeds the complex network of dressings into composites rafts. This innovative composites technology delivers significant benefits including around 30% part count reduction, weight reduction, build time/cost savings and a predicted 50% reduction of in-service reliability issues. The project delivered a proven capable manufacturing process suitable for 1st industrial application.
The technology is planned to be certified on the Trent 1000 TEN for the Boeing 787, having successfully completed engine ground tests and flight tests on the Rolls-Royce powered 747 flying test bed ahead of the formal flight test programme on Boeing 787.