he investment in this area is to be quadrupled, from 50 million Euros over the past five years, to 200 million Euros over the next four years. Both, Lufthansa Technik’s conventional maintenance, repair and overhaul business, the company’s VIP and Executive Jet business will also benefit from this new approach.
Repair by robots
Working with partners from universities, research establishments and industry, Lufthansa Technik has already succeeded in putting many innovations for aviation into effect. The research topics include production technologies, measurement technology, improved MRO services, fault diagnosis and prognosis, robot-assisted repair processes and automated test procedures. One of the projects already completed or else at an advanced stage is the Cyclean® mobile engine wash system, which is already used worldwide and results in fuel savings of around 0.5 percent. Work is also under way to improve engine efficiency and extend the service life of compressor blades using a novel laser welding method. A newly developed engine performance analysis methodology is now making it possible to perform tailored overhauls on engines for which OEM-independent data has been acquired for the first time.
Fiber composites for a lighter future
Several research projects are geared towards the increasing use of fiber composite materials: involving partners from academia and industry, these projects are developing procedures for diagnosing faults directly on the aircraft fuselage and for damage rectification by a mobile repair robot. Another avenue for research activity has been to examine how, using modern materials, designs and production procedures, various OEM components can be replaced by self-developed, maintainable, lighter and more economical parts.
Under the concept “eMobility”, alternative mobility concepts for taxiing and towing operations for aircraft are being tested with a view to cutting fuel consumption and emissions. These include an electric drive integrated in the main landing gear, a diesel-electric powered aircraft towing vehicle and a hybrid towbarless e-towing tractor.