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.

We develop technologies for tomorrow. (Photo: Getty Images / Rafe Swan)

We develop technologies for tomorrow. (Photo: Getty Images / Rafe Swan)

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

  • Rudder actuator

  • Jet pump

  • New Technologies, Infinite Possibilities

    Spoiler actuator with 3D printed titanium valve block

    Spoiler actuator with 3D printed titanium valve block

    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.

    Electrical air conditioning pack test rig at Liebherr-Aerospace in Toulouse (France)

    Electrical air conditioning pack test rig at Liebherr-Aerospace in Toulouse (France)

    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.

    Video: Clean Sky - All Electrical Aircraft Flight Test Campaign

    A ceremony was held in Toulouse to celebrate another successful Flying Demonstration of the ATR 72-600 prototype aircraft, under Clean Sky’s Green Regional Aircraft ITD.

    Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning unit for the ICE 3.1

    Liebherr’s air cycle air conditioning unit for the ICE 3.1

    Liebherr’s cold air systems only consist of a few components. They are not only of low weight, but also simple and inexpensive to service. In addition, the systems are characterized by very low operating costs and low energy consumption.

    Originally, air cycle air conditioning technology was developed for the aerospace industry, where it has been used for more than four decades for air conditioning in aircraft. As one of the very first companies, Liebherr also began employing this technology in rail vehicle equipment. In 2002, Liebherr-Transportation Systems fitted a train of German operator Deutsche Bahn AG (DB) – an ICE 3 – with air cycle air conditioning systems for test runs. Additional fittings for the first model series as well as 13 eight-car trains of the second model series of the ICE 3 followed.

    Learn more about Liebherr’s participation in the ICE 3

    Environment-friendly and successful

    Since then, the systems have proven extremely successful in DB's daily passenger transport operations. They are characterized, in particular, by their environmental friendliness, their robustness and their low operating costs. Furthermore, the energy consumption of air cycle air conditioning systems is extremely low compared with conventional systems. This has been verified, among other ways, through comparative measurements by DB.

    The very successful results of the air cycle air conditioning systems are not only an affirmation for Liebherr-Transportation Systems, but also an incentive to work intensively on further developing air cycle technology and to make it usable for a wider spectrum of applications.

    Robust and reliable: the fuel cell air compressor by Liebherr

    Robust and reliable: the fuel cell air compressor by Liebherr

    The fuel cell air compressor does not require oil and is highly efficient.

    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.

    Downloads

    Video: Additive layer manufacturing

    Liebherr-Aerospace began additive layer manufacturing six years ago and presented the fruits of its labours during ILA Berlin Air Show in June 2016.

    Liebherr-Aerospace began additive layer manufacturing six years ago and presented the fruits of its labours during ILA Berlin Air Show in June 2016. Play video

    Liebherr-Aerospace began additive layer manufacturing six years ago and presented the fruits of its labours during ILA Berlin Air Show in June 2016.

    Video: Clean Sky/Airbus Flight Lab

    The first flight of the Airbus Flight Lab (A320 MSN1) took place on June 3rd, 2016. The aircraft features a number of innovative electrical technologies developed within Clean Sky’s SGO Systems for Green operations (SGO) platform, including the Electrical Environmental Control System developed by Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, Toulouse (France), Liebherr’s center of excellence for air management systems.

    The first flight of the Airbus Flight Lab (A320 MSN1) took place on June 3rd, 2016. The aircraft features a number of innovative electrical technologies developed within Clean Sky’s SGO Systems for Green operations (SGO) platform, including the Electrical Environmental Control System developed by Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, Toulouse (France), Liebherr’s center of excellence for air management systems. Play video

    The first flight of the Airbus Flight Lab (A320 MSN1) took place on June 3rd, 2016. The aircraft features a number of innovative electrical technologies developed within Clean Sky’s SGO Systems for Green operations (SGO) platform, including the Electrical Environmental Control System developed by Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, Toulouse (France), Liebherr’s center of excellence for air management systems.

    Contacts

    Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH

    Pfänderstraße 50-52

    88161 Lindenberg/Allgäu

    Germany

    • Phone+49 8381 46-0
    • Fax+49 8381 46-4377

    Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS

    408, avenue des Etats-Unis

    31016 Toulouse Cedex 2

    France

    • Phone+33 5 613528-28
    • Fax+33 5 613528-00

    Liebherr-Transportation Systems GmbH & Co KG

    Liebherrstraße 1

    2100 Korneuburg

    Austria

    • Phone+43 5 08 09 51-0
    • Fax+43 5 08 09 51-500

    Additive layer manufacturing

    Liebherr-Aerospace began additive layer manufacturing six years ago and presented the fruits of its labours during ILA Berlin Air Show in June 2016. Play video

    Liebherr-Aerospace began additive layer manufacturing six years ago and presented the fruits of its labours during ILA Berlin Air Show in June 2016.

    Clean Sky/Airbus Flight Lab

    The first flight of the Airbus Flight Lab (A320 MSN1) took place on June 3rd, 2016. Play video

    The first flight of the Airbus Flight Lab (A320 MSN1) took place on June 3rd, 2016. The aircraft features a number of innovative electrical technologies developed within Clean Sky’s SGO Systems for Green operations (SGO) platform, including the Electrical Environmental Control System developed by Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, Toulouse (France), Liebherr’s center of excellence for air management systems.

    Transportation

    Liebherr-Transportation Systems stands for competitive technological solutions in air conditioning and actuation for the rail industry. Transportation

    Testing capabilities