MTS Technology Used in Development of New Fuel-Efficient Jet Engines

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN -- MTS Systems Corporation announces that it recently delivered a state-of-the-art test system to French aircraft engine manufacturer Snecma (Safran). The test system is being used for highly complex testing and certification of fan blades made from advanced composite materials for the next-generation LEAP™ turbofan. The new engine is designed to deliver significantly cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient performance than current jet engine designs.

The LEAP engine was developed by CFM International, a joint company between Snecma (Safran) and General Electric. It is the successor engine for the CFM56 line and is slated to equip the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, among others.

The MTS test system is engineered to simulate the dynamic forces experienced by fan blades in a real-world jet engine operating environment. The system comprises a high-force servo-hydraulic load frame outfitted with a unique configuration of vertical and lateral actuators capable of accurately replicating the combination of forces.

According to Dr. Mike Jost, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MTS Test, developing the Snecma test system posed unique engineering challenges. "The test program requires that fan blade specimens be subjected to 1.4 million load cycles over the course of six months. Adding to this challenge, Snecma required that this high-frequency system also be adaptable to test blade sizes and geometries beyond those required by the first application program. To meet these aggressive test requirements, we engineered a custom test solution to provide precise control of complex forces and motions at high frequencies."

For Baptiste Colotte, Project Manager for Test Facilities Department at Snecma, the development and successful implementation of the test system is an example of world-class engineering collaboration. "This was far more than the usual customer/supplier relationship," he recounted. "Overcoming the considerable technical challenges of this project required extensive interaction among expert teams from both sides. I was truly impressed by the focus of MTS' mechanical, software and systems integration engineers and their commitment to understanding our program constraints, requirements and targets."

"The new LEAP jet engine promises to lower fuel consumption and emissions by 15 percent when compared to today's engines, saving fuel and reducing the impact on our environment," said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTS Systems Corporation. "Our close collaboration with Snecma in the development of this next-generation technology exemplifies the pivotal role MTS technology can play in meeting one of the key challenges of our time – building a cleaner, more fuel-efficient global transportation infrastructure."

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