The First Engine To Test (FETT) is the first big test in the engine development process. As the engine is fired up for the first time, developers are presented with a comparison between the calculations they have made in advance and the engine data as they are in actual operation. In the case of the GE9X, the exclusive engine for the new Boeing 777X, this step is scheduled for the spring. In delivering the turbine center frame (TCF), MTU has just delivered a key component for the GE9X’s first test run.
The TCF is an extremely complex group of engine components with an array of functions. It channels gases at temperatures of up to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius from the high-pressure turbine past structural components and cables and towards the low-pressure turbine—all with a minimum of aerodynamic losses.
MTU’s first foray into TCF production was its participation in the GP7000 program for the Airbus A380. This was followed by the TCF for the GEnx of Boeing’s 747-8 and 787. Taking the basic architecture of the GEnx TCF as its point of departure, MTU has now implemented extensive improvements in the TCF for the GE9X, including a new mounting concept for the low-pressure turbine’s entrance guiding wheel. For MTU, the GE9X-TCF is a first in more ways than one. At some 1.70 meters in diameter, it is MTU’s biggest TCF to date. Not only that, it is also the first time that the company has assumed complete development and production responsibility for such a component.
The GE9X is to generate more than 100,000 pounds in thrust and become GE Aviation’s most efficient engine to date in terms of the ratio of fuel consumption to thrust power. Entry into service is scheduled for 2020, with more than 300 firm orders for airplanes equipped with the GE9X engine.