Rolls-Royce partners with AI software developer to boost engine reliability

Industrial AI and IoT software developer, Uptake, and Rolls-Royce have joined forces to extend Rolls-Royce’s digital ecosystem.
According to Uptake, the company will demonstrate how its capabilities can help Rolls-Royce implement a data-science-first approach to optimising the performance of its Trent engine fleet, the market-leading engine family for widebody aircraft.
Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare® service enables customers to maximise the availability of their engines while allowing Rolls-Royce to focus on the most efficient management of the fleet. Working with Uptake to analyse a number of disparate datasets will arm Rolls-Royce with new insights to deliver on its TotalCare® promise to airlines around the world by improving the uptime and availability of their Trent engine fleet.
“We’ve been applying analytics as a key part of our TotalCare® services strategy for many years and are always looking to advance our digital approach to improve the quality and value of our services. With industrial AI and machine learning techniques, we can increase the uptime of our engines and help customers extend the life and value of their critical assets,” Tom Palmer, Senior Vice President of Services for Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace business said.
Built on a foundation of data science and machine learning, Uptake develops solutions that help industrial companies digitally transform their business. The company’s latest release of its Asset Performance Management application, Uptake APM, incorporates the Asset Strategy Library (ASL), the world’s most comprehensive database of industrial content including equipment types, failure mechanisms and maintenance tasks. This rich combination of deep operational and equipment knowledge with predictive analytics provides unparalleled visibility into, and insights surrounding, the entire asset environment, whether assets are connected or not.
Uptake APM is built on top of our industrial AI and IoT platform. This enables companies to put powerful AI and machine learning to work, using our pre-trained data science models and industry-specific content to turn mountains of data into actionable insights that drive financial outcomes.

Rolls-Royce invests in R&D for autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce has announced the latest stage in its research and development plans to make remote and autonomous shipping a reality and “reap the benefits of increasing digitalisation in the marine industry.”
On 8 March, the manufacturing business revealed that Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation – has given a significant research grant to enable Rolls-Royce to invest further in an R&D centre in Turku, Finland. The company plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centres, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.
“Digitalisation will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead, and the time is now right to set out how we are going to make this happen,” said Mikael Mäkinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine. “Over the coming years we need to invest globally to develop the required capabilities and to establish a range of market-ready products and systems to take advantage of what is a significant global market opportunity.
“By combining our world leading capability and knowledge, with a clear plan of where we need to go next, we can work with our customers, governments and our global academic research network to develop and bring to market the advanced technology, products and supporting services needed both ‘on-vessel’ and ‘on-shore’ to make our vision of future remote and autonomous ships a reality.”
In Norway, the company is currently investing in a range of R&D projects, which will include a new Marine Fleet Management Centre in Aalesund to allow remote monitoring, data analysis, optimisation of ships and their on-board equipment. The centre will allow Rolls-Royce to extend its ‘power by the hour’ concept, already proven in its aerospace business, to serve the marine sector. ‘Power by the hour’ is a new service to be delivered from the marine division of Rolls-Royce which makes use of ‘big data’ to monitor, plan and perform maintenance and repairs on on-board ship equipment.
“We are pleased to see the establishment of a centre for Remote Control & Autonomous Ships in Finland, and welcome the continued support from Tekes,” said Asbjørn Skaro, Rolls-Royce, Director, Digital & Systems – Marine. “We are looking at further funding and capability opportunities in countries including Finland, Norway, the UK and Singapore to develop our ship intelligence technology and build customer partnerships worldwide.
“By drawing on our existing capabilities in our Marine business, together with the global expertise we have across the Rolls-Royce Group and our relationships with partners, we believe we can secure up to £200 million ($323 million) of investment to revolutionise shipping.”

Air New Zealand 747 flies on bio-oil

Air New Zealand successfully flew a Boeing 747 partially fuelled by jatropha oil, achieving a significant milestone in the development of sustainable fuels for aircraft.
The airline used a 50-50 blend of standard jet fuel and biofuel made from the oil of jatropha plant seeds to power one of the engines on a Boeing 747 during a two-hour test flight.
It was claimed to be the world’s first test flight using jatropha biofuel and followed a Virgin Atlantic test flight earlier in the year using a blend including coconut oil and babassu nut oil.
"We undertook a range of tests on the ground and in flight with the jatropha biofuel performing well through both the fuel system and engine," Air New Zealand chief pilot Dave Morgan said.
The test flight was a joint venture involving Air New Zealand, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Honeywell company UOP, with support from Terasol Energy.
Biofuels are seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels but critics are opposed to turning farmland over to the cultivation of biofuel at the expense of food crops. However, some sources of bio-oil, such as algae and jatropha, do not usually displace food crops or result in rainforest destruction as other oil-producing plants do, as they are grown in arid or semi-arid conditions.
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