Liebherr-Aerospace Bets on R&D for Future Success

Farnborough Air Show » 2014
July 17, 2014, 7:20 AM

Liebherr-Aerospace (Hall 4 Stand E6) is here exhibiting its flight control and actuation systems, landing gear, air management systems and gearboxes as well as Liebherr-Elektronik electronic components. Highlights include the nose and the main landing gear of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft, a wingtip brake for the Airbus A350 XWB, a cooling pack for the Comac C919 and a newly developed gearbox for an unnamed, next-generation helicopter program.

In electronics, a total of five controllers are on display: two controllers for integrated air management systems, a flight control cabinet with up to nine individual electronic modules, a controller for supplemental cooling systems and motor-drive electronics for an active differential gearbox.

Liebherr-Aerospace has been investing heavily in research and development. The EUR199 million ($270 million) spent last year represented 17 percent of the revenues. This is a much higher percentage than what the industry is doing in average, Nicolas Bonleux, managing director and chief sales officer of the Toulouse-based company, emphasized. In flight controls and landing gears alone, it will invest EUR100 million ($136 million) over the next seven years.

Last spring, Liebherr performed a series of tests on a main rotor actuator for the still-under-wraps Airbus Helicopters X4 medium twin. The hydraulic actuator’s design features new surface treatment and a new material that enables a weight reduction.

During the same period, a fly-by-wire control system prototype was tested for Embraer E-Jet E2 flaps and slats. The E2’s air management system is at the same development stage.

The system manufacturer is also a supplier on the Falcon 5X business jet. Over the last few weeks, it thus delivered to Dassault the first air management system and engine bleed air shipsets. On the Airbus A320neo, Liebherr is contributing to the preparation of “safety of flight clearance” this month.

Simultaneously, the firm is investing in expanding its factories, as the aircraft programs it is working for are ramping up by an expected 31 percent over the 2013-2020 period.

Liebherr yesterday signed a contract with LOT Polish Airlines for the overhaul of the carrier’s Embraer E170s and E175s.

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