EBACE Convention News

LHT’s cabin design facility centers on innovation

 - May 6, 2009, 6:51 AM

With the official opening of the Cabin Innovation Center for research and development at its Hamburg, Germany headquarters on April 1, Lufthansa Technik (Booth No. 343) has sent a strong signal that it intends to press on with its business strategy regardless of the continuing economic crisis.

According to Bernhard Conrad, head of design organization and innovation, the industry should not downplay the effects of this recession. But 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 new, 67,800-sq-ft Cabin Innovation Center is proof that Lufthansa Technik has willingly invested in that position to the tune of just over $13 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 IP-management center also have been moved into the new building, with an eye to speeding up the decision-making process.

The Cabin Innovation core team currently numbers slightly more than 60 and that figure is expected to climb to 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 to eventually hold about 200 workers.

The five-story center also 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 cabin center is only part of a major investment program at the company’s Hamburg site. The new engine overhaul center for CFM56 engines opened in January this year, and work has started on enlarging the airframe-related components business unit. Also, the landing gear services unit is expanding with investments in facilities and landing gear spares.