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ITP Aero designs and manufactures one of the key structures of the new UltraFan® engine demonstrator via 3D printing


The manufactured structure is called a Tail Bearing Housing (TBH). It is a key structural component within the engine and one of two that connects the engine to the aircraft and carries all the associated loads.

The UltraFan engine demonstrator is the basis for a future engine family with enhanced core capabilities and a new geared architecture that will be 25% more efficient than the first generation of Trent engine. UltraFan engine will be capable of running on 100% SAF (sustainable aviation fuel)

ITP Aero has designed and manufactured the Tail Bearing Housing (TBH) for the first Rolls-Royce UltraFan® demonstrator engine using additive technology. The TBH is one of the main structures of the engine, and is one of the two elements that attach the aircraft and the engine. ITP Aero's own design and manufacturing criteria have enabled a better use of energy and raw materials with a 25% saving in its manufacture compared to current generation production processes. 

The TBH is a key structural component designed to withstand loads for all operational conditions. It houses part of the bearings that support the shaft for the fan, the main propulsion element of the engine.

The UltraFan® TBH comprises the use of removable sound attenuation panels also manufactured by 3D printing, achieving a reduction of 50% of the sound power emitted by the turbine. Noise reduction will be a key driver for future technologies to achieve the ACARE target of perceived noise reduction of circa 65% by 2050.

Additive technology, also known as 3D printing, used to manufacture the TBH is the selective laser melting method. First, the 3D model of the component is digitally divided into individual layers, and then a laser melts the super-alloy powder into the component layer by layer. This method makes it possible to produce components of complex geometry with a minimum use of raw material and better use of energy.

ITP Aero has an additive manufacturing cell and a team of professionals dedicated exclusively to this production method at its facilities in Zamudio, Spain. In addition, ITP also collaborates with Renishaw Solution Centre in Barcelona. It is also worth noting that the company, thanks to its investment in collaborative technology development projects, is able to apply its own standards and specifications for the application of this technology in aircraft engine components.

Over the coming weeks, the TBH will be assembled to the UltraFan intermediate pressure turbine, also designed and manufactured by ITP Aero, for final assembly on the complete engine at Rolls-Royce's Derby facilities. Once complete, the engine will go on test at the new engine test facility, Testbed80, in Derby in 2022. The first run will be on 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel. UltraFan is due to be available to the market around the turn of the decade, but this is dependent on airframer requirements for a new airframe.

Regarding the use of 3D printing and ITP Aero's role in the UltraFan programme, Erlantz Cristobal, Executive Director of Technology and Engineering at ITP Aero, commented: "Our commitment to additive manufacturing technology, or 3D printing, is part of our  focus on digitilisation in order to make ITP Aero a more agile, resilient and sustainable leader. We are proud to apply this technology to a programme such as UltraFan, that we strongly believe will be a key pillar to make aviation an increasingly sustainable industry in the next decades”.       

More about the UltraFan

  • UltraFan was launched in 2014 as a demonstrator that can be scaled to create a family of engines capable of powering either narrowbody or widebody aircraft.
  • UltraFan features a new architecture and light-weight composite materials as well as the world’s most powerful aerospace gearbox.
  • The new generation engine will be 25 per cent more fuel efficient than the original Trent 700 and is a key element of the Rolls-Royce sustainability strategy as part of its commitment to continue to improve gas turbine performance.
  • Efficient gas turbines will continue to be required in a post-COVID 19 aerospace industry as they remain the only effective way to transport people at speed over long distances. UltraFan will be capable of operating on 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
  • The UltraFan demonstrator will be the world’s largest engine with a fan diameter of 140 inches – a London tube train could run through a circle the size of the engine’s fan case.


About ITP Aero

ITP Aero is currently one of the leading aerospace and engine component suppliers in the world, employing approximately 4,300 people at its production centres in Spain, UK, Mexico, Malta and India. ITP Aero's activities include the design, research and development, manufacturing and casting, assembly and testing of aeronautical modules and engines for commercial aviation and defence applications. It also provides maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services for a wide range of business jet and defence engines, including providing MRO services to the Spanish Ministry of Defence. It has partnered with Rolls-Royce on all Trent civil aero engine programmes, manufacturing low pressure turbines, and is a partner on Rolls-Royce next generation UltraFan® engine. ITP Aero also designs and manufactures aeronautical modules and components for Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Honeywell. In defence applications, ITP Aero is a consortium member for the engines powering the Eurofighter Typhoon, the A400M and the Tiger helicopter. Earlier this year, ITP Aero was confirmed as Spanish leader for the development of the engine for the FCAS programme. ITP Aero is led by Chief Executive, Carlos Alzola.

ITP Aero
Susana Herrero
Head of Communications
M: (+34) 610 260 992

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