Aerospace and Transportation Systems
The Aerospace and Transportation Systems division increased its sales once again in 2017. Revenues reached €1,366 million, an increase of €86 million, or 6.7 %.
Liebherr-Aerospace remains on course for growth
The aerospace industry’s international growth curve continued last year. However, performance was highly variable among the individual market segments. While the commercial aircraft segment developed positively, a sideways movement could be felt in regional and military aircraft. The markets for helicopters and business aircraft took a slight downturn. The rail transport industry continued on a course of moderate growth in 2017.
Liebherr managed to firmly defend its market position as a system supplier for the air traffic industry in the reporting year. For example, French aircraft manufacturer ATR has contracted the division with developing, manufacturing and supplying a new generation air management system for aircraft models ATR 42 and ATR 72. The system includes various subsystems for bleed air, climatisation and cabin pressure control.
A highlight of 2017 was the successful maiden flight of the C919 passenger aircraft from COMAC. On board was a landing gear system and integrated air management system developed and produced by Liebherr. The division also developed the air management and landing gear systems for the new C Series of Bombardier planes. To enable just-in-time delivery of landing gear systems directly to the aircraft final-assembly line for Bombardier the division invested in a landing gear assembly plant in Laval, Canada.
Liebherr is setting new standards in flight control: The type certification for the flap and slat control system for the E2 E-jet from Embraer was successfully completed in record time.
World’s most powerful jet engine power gearbox
Together with Rolls-Royce, Liebherr wrote a new chapter in aerospace history in 2017: the companies partnered to create the world‘s most powerful jet engine power gearbox, reaching 70,000 horsepower at the Rolls-Royce test facility in Dahlewitz (Germany). The power gearbox is a key component in the future UltraFan® geared engine programme from Rolls-Royce. The engine manufacturer is working on a joint venture with Liebherr-Aerospace to develop the capabilities and capacities to produce the new power gearbox.
Meanwhile, Liebherr is also setting new standards in flight control. The division successfully completed type certification for the flap and slat control system for the E2 E-jet from Embraer in record time. In addition, Liebherr is responsible for the air management system of this Brazilian medium-range aircraft. Liebherr will also be supplying a new rudder servo control for the A320neo from Airbus. In addition to development and production, the division is also taking charge of the integrated logistics support as well as customer service across the entire product life cycle.
Transportation segment awarded contracts from Germany and the USA
In the transportation systems segment, Liebherr has also won multiple new contracts. The German railway company Deutsche Bahn has contracted the division to supply 120 CO2 sensors to sustainably reduce energy consumption in its railway vehicles. The sensors will be retroactively installed into 60 double-deck wagons from the 1994 and 2003 models. Another contract involves the supply of 400 level control systems for CRRC Sifang America. These adjust the vehicle’s entrance to the height level of the platform at the stations, enabling barrier-free boarding and disembarking. The systems will be built into the new 7000 series trains for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) before the end of 2020. The contract also includes an option for over 400 more level control systems.
World premiere: test flight with Liebherr 3D-printed components
During the reporting year, the division continued to focus its research and development efforts on new production processes. The result was a world premiere: the first flight of a 3D-printed component in an A380 test aircraft. The valve block made from titanium powder is part of the spoiler actuator and undertakes important primary flight control functions. The division is already working using 3D-printing to produce other parts for landing gear and flight control systems as well as air management systems. Another focal point for research has been fully electric systems and components for the next generation of aircraft. Liebherr has developed the first system demonstrations for fully electric climatisation and de-icing systems.
Over the past year, the division invested in expanding its global service network and in building new production lines. In Lindenberg (Germany) investments were also made in test stands for Boeing and Embraer.
For 2018, the Aerospace and Transportation Systems division predicts revenues to remain consistent with last year’s level.