With R&D innovation center, Lufthansa looks to the future

 - May 5, 2009, 5:40 AM

With the official opening of the new Cabin Innovation Center for research and development at its Hamburg, Germany headquarters on April 1, Lufthansa Technik has made its position with regard to the future perfectly clear, regardless of the current economic and credit crisis.

According to Bernhard Conrad, head of design organization and innovation, the industry should not downplay the effects of this recession. At the same time, he added, “It’s important that we don’t overreact. There is always a day after, and while we have to survive, we also have to continue to work toward the future.”

The 67,800-sq-ft center is proof that Lufthansa Technik has invested in that position to the tune of $13.19 million.

Modern test facilities to monitor the airworthiness of new products (pre-compliance tests) have been installed in a “qualification lab” that also includes an environmental test chamber and equipment to ensure electromagnetic compatibility, as well as vibration and crash-test equipment.

Lufthansa Technik’s office of airworthiness and the intellectual property-management center have also been moved into the new building, with an eye to speeding up the decision-making process.

The cabin innovation core team is currently at slightly more than 60, on its way to an anticipated 100. Lufthansa Technik expects there will be further benefits in terms of jobs created by supplier operations also housed in the building. The center is expected eventually to hold about 200 workers.

The five-story building offers more than a nodding acceptance of “green” innovation, built using a combination of modular and solid structures with a façade that features a composite system for thermal insulation.

“This new facility marks an expansion of Lufthansa Technik’s expertise in the field of cabin innovation, while also paving the way for the long-term growth of this business unit,” said chairman of the executive board August Wilhelm Henningsen.

The innovation center is only part of a major investment program at the Lufthansa Technik Hamburg site. The new engine overhaul center for the CFM56 opened
in January, and work on enlarging the airframe-related components section has started. Also, the landing gear services section is expanding, with investments in facilities and landing gear spares.    

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2009 in April in Hamburg, Germany, Lufthansa Technik’s NiceView “infotainment” package won first place in the entertainment and communication category of the Crystal Cabin Award competition.

Lufthansa NiceView Wins Crystal Cabin Award

A passenger flight information and moving-map display, the system provides worldwide high-resolution 3-D maps and virtual flight views as well as a multitude

of information overlays, tickers and banners.

It also plays high-definition movies and multi-channel audio.

The Crystal Cabin Awards were introduced in 2007 by the Joint Initiative, Hamburg, to recognize “outstanding and innovative aircraft cabin products and concepts” in six categories. This year’s competition drew 51 entrants from 14 countries and was pared down by the jury to 18 finalists, with winners recognized during the annual show.