Case study

Rolls-Royce engine tooling


For routine maintenance all Rolls-Royce Trent Engines have traditionally been stripped and built on ground based engine build stands. However, a radical new design for SAESL (a Singapore Airways and Rolls-Royce joint venture) has the engines mounted overhead and uses no ground based tooling. 

The factory has one line for strip and another one for build and, when the engine is stripped into its modules, these are either stored in overhead 'sidings' or sent for deep strip. As the Rolls-Royce engine modules had not been designed for this type of tooling, our client needed an innovative yet cost-effective solution.


We designed two manipulators (yellow sections in the images) which can be used on the complete range of Trent engines. The manipulators have four degrees of freedom, enabling the extraction and insertion of all engine modules. Interface elements connect to the manipulators to the modules of bespoke engine types (e.g. Trent 900).  

Like all lifting equipment for Rolls-Royce, this tooling had to be designed and stressed to exacting standards, and the carriers and interface tooling were all subject to individual strength tests. 

We also provided on-site support during installation, training and commissioning, and to date, tooling has been supplied for three Trent engine variants.


The key objective for the over-head strip concept was that it would double productivity compared to a ground based system. However, this new design has significantly exceeded this figure and the throughput has increased by a factor of four. Frazer-Nash have brought an innovative solution to a complex problem, whilst also delivering significant cost savings and reducing the number tools needed to strip and build an aero engine.

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