Technologies for the future
Constant investment into research and development play a key role in our long-term vision and strategy. This allows Liebherr-Aerospace and Transportation Systems to develop technologies that are employed in next generation aircraft and rail vehicles as well as in the automotive industries.
3D printing – the future emerging from the laser melter
Additive manufacturing is the name given to a process which uses digital 3D design data to build up a component layer-by-layer by melting material. The term "3D printing" is used more and more often as a synonym for additive manufacturing. However, additive manufacturing is a better description, indicating that the process involved is a professional production process which differs significantly from conventional subtractive manufacturing methods. Instead of milling a part from a solid block, for example, additive manufacturing builds up components layer by layer from materials which come in fine-powder form. Materials available include a variety of different metals, plastics and composites.Print & Fly - discover 3D printing applications developed by Liebherr
Examples of 3D printed products developed by Liebherr-Aerospace
Valve block for a spoiler actuator
New Technologies, Infinite Possibilities
World premiere: In March 2017, an Airbus A380 took off for the first time with a titanium valve block from Liebherr-Aerospace’s 3D printer and successfully completed its route. Never before has a hydraulic primary flight control component made from titanium powder using an additive manufacturing process been used in an Airbus.
The valve block is part of Liebherr-Aerospace’s spoiler actuator and fulfills a number of important functions on board the A380, when it comes to maneuvering the airplane, for example, and braking after landing. The 3D printed component works like a traditional forged valve block but has two crucial advantages: It is 35 percent lighter and is made up of fewer individual parts.
For several years, there has been a strong trend towards more electric systems for the next generation of aircraft. This approach will allow to improve safety and to increase the overall efficiency of the airplane while decreasing noise emissions and fuel burn.
The more electric systems developed by Liebherr are designed to achieve such challenges, decreasing weight and engine consumption thanks to the ability to adjust, for each flight phase, the energy generation to the precise needs of the onboard consumers.
Technologies for tomorrow
To be ready for the aircraft that will enter service in the future, Liebherr-Aerospace, in line with the long-term vision of the Liebherr Group, consistently invests above industry-average ratios into the R&D activities in its fields of expertise: landing gears, flight controls, actuation, gears and gear boxes and air management systems.
In particular, Liebherr works on such topics as next generations of electric actuators, e-taxiing, electric wing, electric environmental control system, auxiliary power generation systems, hydraulic power supply, and thermal and power management on-board the aircraft.
Auxiliary Power Generation System
In order to explore opportunities to collaborate on the development of a hydrogen-powered Auxiliary Power Unit for commercial aircraft applications, General Motors and Liebherr entered an agreement in 2018.
This effort drives to the common goal of establishing a zero emissions, zero congestion future, which is supported by the development of clean energy solutions for future aircraft.
Liebherr and General Motor's technology is aimed at substituting the typical gas turbine engine that is used as auxiliary power unit or APU to power electric infrastructure and air conditioning systems, while the primary aircraft engines are shut down. These systems typically function during ground operations, when passengers are boarding or deplaning. The APU also provides shaft power to start the primary aircraft engines prior to departure.
Video: Clean Sky/Airbus Flight Lab
For more than one decade, Liebherr has been collaborating with major automotive manufacturers to develop the future generation of fuel cell vehicles.
Liebherr-Aerospace’s air bearings technology for centrifugal compressor developed for aerospace activities powered by a high-speed electric motor has been identified as the best candidate to supply compressed and pressurized air to the fuel cell system.
Robust, reliable and efficient
Liebherr’s motorized compressor complies with the severe requirements of fuel cell systems for the automotive industry: very robust and reliable, it does not require oil, it is compact in size, highly efficient, optimized in cost and noise emissions, and it features a fast dynamic response.
This has been demonstrated in the field where more than one hundred vehicles using motorized turbo compressors by Liebherr have run millions of miles without any failure since 2007.
Dynamic Management of Electrical and Thermal Power
GETI is a French joint project of Liebherr-Aerospace and Thales Avionics Electrical Systems. It focuses on a smart electrical and thermal power management approach for more electrical aircraft. Play video
Video: 3D Printing in Campsas
Liebherr-Aerospace is working on more complex and more critical high-value air system components, which could be offered for future platforms. Play video
Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH
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Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS
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Liebherr-Transportation Systems GmbH & Co KG
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