“It’s on another scale from anything I’ve seen before,” says Lorna Carter who recently started working at a new Rolls-Royce research and development facility near Bristol. She works with giant robots which lay thousands of strips of carbon fibre tape to form a cylinder some 3.7m (almost 12ft) in diameter.
Making the fan casing and blades from carbon fibre should result in a 20% weight saving compared with previous materials.
And that’s important as the aerospace industry is under pressure to reduce its environmental impact. Aircraft are getting more efficient, but airline traffic is growing even faster.
Rolls-Royce estimates that 37,000 new passenger aircraft will be needed over the next 20 years.