Business Overview Of Rolls Royce Commerce Essay

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Rolls Royce produces wide range of products and is strong and successful in producing gas turbine technology (more than 12,000 engines serving). They are the world's second largest engine manufacturer; Trent engines are still unmatchable for wide body aircrafts. Rolls Royce is a winner when spoken about business jet engines all this with £4.5 billion as their annual revenue of which 61 percent is gained through services.

History of the brand

In the year of 1904 Henry Royce and Charles Rolls met in Manchester and formed a company with a vision to manufacture the "best car in the world" (SITE REF). Rolls Royce the company's name originated from their surnames.

In the year 1971, the businesses with the brand were split. International engineering organisation operating in the areas like marine, defence, energy market and aerospace was branded as Rolls Royce Group plc. The value of their brand name grew with the organisation. Since the birth, Rolls Royce has always been setting up new standards of excellence transforming it from being innovative exhibition area to an international blue-chip organisation.

Rolls-Royce today has a broad customer base comprising more than 600 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators (

Path dependency and technological trajectory

Industry Evolution

The switch over from single sourcing to multiple sourcing of engines by the airframe manufacturers lead to one of the key institutional changes in the aero- engine sector. During early years of 1970s, Pratt and Whitney the US engine makers dominated the civil engine market because of their single sourcing of engines employed by the main airframe manufacturers (Bluestone et al., 1980). The time when civil airliner market was dominated by Boeing the civil engines market was dominated by Pratt and Whitney, because Boeing always used Pratt and Whitney's engines. This institutional arrangement was a major blow for Rolls Royce as they supplied engines to British aircraft which acquired engines in small quantities. Thus the launch of first wide bodied jets (e.g. Boeing 747 jumbo jet) favoured multiple sourcing of engines against single sourcing of engines leading to competitive mess up.

JT9D engine was by Pratt and Whitney, this engine was selected by Japan Airlines and North West Airlines in long range McDonnell - Douglas DC10 beginning the movement of multiple sourcing of engines, but multiple sourcing actually came to fame cause of Boeing 747. In speedily emerging Asian market, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific were few of the airliners who ordered 747s with Rolls Royce, on the whole making it an exciting season for Rolls Royce (Rolls-Royce, 1987). During 1980s Rolls Royce world wide civil market share doubled compare to 5.9 percent in 1960s as multiple sourcing became so big that the Boeing 757 was launched with the Rolls Royce engine, which was the first time a new Boeing airliner was launched without Pratt and Whitney's engine.

Introduction of partnerships was another key institutional change of civil aerospace industry. At sometime when manufacturing cost of engines and airframe increased and support from government decreased the major contractors chose to opt for RRSPs (risk and revenue sharing partnerships). Commencing then, most of the fresh commercial aerospace plans involved risk and revenue sharing partnerships. RRSPs have been a tremendous success in aero engine sector as the major engine manufacturers used RRSPs in manufacturing fresh engines. During the launch of its Trent engine (ultra high thrust) in early 1990s Rolls Royce had many first tier merchants as partners. Since then, Rolls Royce followed its trend of forming fresh partnerships, which is visible in their latest engine Trent 1000 also, for their latest master piece Rolls Royce formed seven partnerships in which each partner invests substantially gaining in return the responsibility of major sub-system's design, development and manufacturing like engine control system or gearbox system.


Technological Trajectories

The engines of the commercial aircrafts have grown physically bigger and at the same time became more fuel efficient as the aircrafts itself became larger and further reliable, with the help of different innovative technologies. Rolls Royce took up manufacturing systems engineering as element of a fresh manufacturing strategy in early 1990s to deal with rising technological complexities like other engine manufacturers (Keir, 1989). Manufacturing systems engineering implied more rapid integration of manufacturing process, straight from design to sale. According to Hobday et al. (2003) system integration doesn't only imply to coordination of technical and operational activities which is linked to aero engine manufacturing, instead it implies to the coordination between suppliers, firms, group of firms, users and partners. Hence, Rolls Royce hives off the production and occasionally the design of minor gears and sub-systems which are not critical for systems performance, to outside suppliers and subcontractors (Prencipe, 1997).

In general, Rolls Royce's industrial evolution, technological trajectories and company strategy is to develop magnitude of civil aerospace activity.

(Bluestone et al., 1980) - Bluestone, B., Jordan, P. & Sullivan, M. (1980) Aircraft Industry Dynamics: An Analysis of Competition, Capital, and Labor (Boston, MA: Auburn House).

(Rolls-Royce, 1987) - Prospectus (London: Rolls-Royce plc).

(Bluestone et al., 1980, 62) - Bluestone, B., Jordan, P. & Sullivan, M. (1980) Aircraft Industry Dynamics: An Analysis of Competition, Capital, and Labor (Boston, MA: Auburn House).

(Mowery, 1987, 68) - Mowery, D. (1987) Alliance Politics and Economics: Multinational Joint Ventures in Commercial Aircraft (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger).

(Giunta, 2000) - Giunta, A. (2000) Large firms and subcontracting relations in the commercial aircraft industry: a case study of Campania, Southern Italy, in: A. Giunta, A. Lagendijk & A. Pike (Eds) Restructuring Industry and Territory: The Experience of Europe's Regions, pp. 37-56 (London: The Stationery Office).

(Mowery, 1987, 70) - Mowery, D. (1987) Alliance Politics and Economics: Multinational Joint Ventures in Commercial Aircraft (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger).

(Keir, 1989) - Keir, J. (1989) Rolls-Royce Manufacturing prepares for the 1990s, The Rolls-Royce Magazine, 42, pp. 9-14, September.

(2003) - Hobday, M., Prencipe, A. & Davies, A. (2003) Introduction, in: A. Prencipe, A. Davies & M. Hobday (Eds) The Business of Systems Integration (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

(Prencipe, 1997) - Prencipe, A. (1997) Technological competencies and product's evolutionary dynamics: a case study from the aero engine industry, Research Policy, 25, pp. 1261-1276.

(Smith & Tranfield, 2005) - Smith, D. J. & Tranfield, D. (2005) Talented suppliers? Strategic change and innovation in the UK aerospace industry, R & D Management, 35(1), pp. 37-49.

(Keir, 1989, 11) - Keir, J. (1989) Rolls-Royce Manufacturing prepares for the 1990s, The Rolls-Royce Magazine, 42, pp. 9-14, September.


Further focusing on particular product from Rolls Royce; Trent 1000 is the latest avatar from the Trent family. Experimental development is "applying knowledge to technologies", Rolls Royce Trent 1000 is an experimental development, it is also an incremental development as the base is carried from the previous Trent engines.

Trent 1000 is an experimental development…{(applying knowledge to


- Most Widespread

- Small firms often only undertake Development}

Trent 1000 is an incremental innovation (Small or No 'r'; Large 'D'

- Cumulative - Within existing paradigms & tech. trajectories

Defensive - supports or enhances existing business)

Total expenditure on R&D

A Brief History of Research & Development

In past five years Rolls Royce invested £3.7 billion on R&D (research and development) i.e on infrastructure, capabilities and technology. In all these years the major focus is on environmental side of its products by cutting down emissions. ADVENT (Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology) and (and the Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine) HEETE are the two vital future research and technology programmes group is focused on.

(annual report, 2008) - annual report (Rolls-Royce plc).

Decentralised R&D

Rolls Royce and seven other partners with individual substantial investment for production and R&D gained in return the responsibility of major sub-system's design, development and manufacturing ensuring successful development of Trent 1000. The three of the seven partners Carltong Forge Works, Goodrich Corporation, Hamilton- Sundstrand are from United States producing fan case, engine control system and gearbox respectively; Industria de Turbo Propilsores from Spain is responsible for LP compressor and Japan's Sumitomo Precision Products, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries provide heat management system, IP compressor and combustor respectively.


Rolls Royce latest gift to aero- engine sector Trent 1000 is built specially to deliver and go beyond the desire of Boeing 787. Trent 1000 operates on the most superior expertise, makes use of all existing valuable knowledge of design, and as claimed pursue constant up gradation attitude. Some remarkable features of Trent 1000 are it burns least amount of fuel and also has least impact on environment, Trent 1000 is the finest in terms of economics, foremost to run and to be certified (on time).

Trent 1000 is the launch engine for all the existing variants of Boeing 787 because it was selected by the primary two clients of 787 Dreamlinerâ„¢ (Air New Zealand and All Nippon Airways).


Rolls-Royce employee 9600 people in their international engineering network and their important centres are situated in USA, UK, India, Germany, Singapore, Canada and Scandinavia. Rolls Royce celebrates relations with 29 (UTC- University Technology Centres) worldwide universities in seven countries which further expanded with the inauguration of UTC in Korea and Pusan. In 2008 all this successful past research lead to filing of 425 patent applications.

(annual report, 2008) - annual report (Rolls-Royce plc).

Result of R&D

The three-shaft structural design in Trent 1000 encouraged the Trent people in minimizing the risks related to entry into service. Trent family also devoted special consideration in slashing maximum life span expenditures for Trent 1000, in addition other major interest were to boost life of the modules, serve effortlessness maintenance, considerably slash fuel burn and also reduce environmental impact. In Trent 1000 slower fan speed and lesser jet velocity reduces noise. Constant advancement in the tiled combustor technology is hereditary also found in Trent 900 is the reason behind achievement of minimal level of emissions by any large turbofan engine. In addition, this exclusive three-shaft knowledge develops engines' operability.

Rolls Royce argues, "To improve component life the Trent 1000 features new technology such as soluble core High Pressure (HP) turbine blades, new manufacturing methods produce more effective cooling for longer-life blades and improved fuel burn. Improved materials also increase lives of discs and shafts." (REF)

Rolls Royce is further focusing on maintenance with the help of fresh service packages. Maintenance needs are pinpointed prior to any disruption in operations because of Predictive Engine Health Monitoring which has been developed further.

The 'fit and forget' unfilled titanium turbine blades with the help of progress mathematical modelling precisely simulates turbine blade stresses and deformation making it highly resistible towards foreign object damage (FOD), with slow fan speed and swept fan aerodynamics Trent 1000 gets improved capability to withstand bird strikes. Further information suggests that an engine with three- shaft geometry is much more capable of protecting the core engine from FOD when compared with two- shaft engines as core entry in three- shaft geometrical engine has smaller diameter.

Rolls Royce pioneers hollow (unfilled) titanium turbine blades, these blades are strong and tough cause of titanium, and they are lightweight creation of exclusive diffusion bond, super- plastic structuring process, all this making Trent 1000 the lightest desired power plant by Boeing for its Dreamliner 787.

Natural benefits of Trent engines helped in overcoming the unproven composite turbine case, compressor blisk and also the titanium aluminide LP turbine blades which is a known attempt to accomplish competitive light weight.

For the entry section stators (ESS) the fresh heating system has been patented and used in Trent 1000, in this system when the condition demands warm air enters through the IP compressor and is then made to pass through ESS aerofoils' passage so that any ice present is taken care off, preventing any damage to the compressor blades.

(Trent 1000, 4 August 2008) - Prospectus (Rolls-Royce plc).

(Trent 1000 Newsletter, June 2007) - Newsletter, issue 6 (Rolls-Royce plc).

(annual report, 2008) - annual report (Rolls-Royce plc).