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Two new future-oriented DLR institutes open in Hamburg

Institutes to co-operate with application-oriented industrial partners in ZAL

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) opened Friday (November 10, 2017) the new Institute of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul and the Institute of System Architectures in Aeronautics, tasked with significantly reducing emissions and using digitalisation to achieve greater efficiency. Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, and several honorary guests attended the inauguration ceremony in the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL) .

Digital development of aircraft

Scholz noted: “We are pleased that DLR has decided to establish a branch in Hamburg. The close co-operation between science and industry will give rise to innovations that will be trendsetting for the entire industry. ZAL is a place of innovative ideas that result in new products for the aviation industry.” The Institute of System Architectures in Aeronautics will focus on digital design and links to digital production to perfect the design and manufacturing of aircraft with digitalised processes (digital aircraft).

The Institute of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul will focus on aircraft operation especially the development of maintenance processes and technologies as well as lifecycle management (digital twinning). Both institutes will employ 80 staff each in ZAL, DLR said. Hamburg will also become one of DLR’s official home states.


The two institutes will receive EUR 10 million in annual funding from the German government and the City of Hamburg, 90 per cent of which is provided by the German government. The City of Hamburg is providing EUR 2 million euro during the establishment phase until late 2018.

The location in ZAL will allow the institutes to establish close working relationships with industries and SMEs for research purposes. DLR conducts research at ZAL in collaboration with many partners including Airbus and Lufthansa Technik as well as suppliers and start-ups in the same building and with joint use of large-scale test aircraft.

Location in ZAL

ZAL counts among cutting-edge global aviation centres and is now fully leased two years after it opened in 2015. Hamburg is the world’s third-largest civil aviation centre with over 40.000 employees in over 300 companies and institutions. Speaking at the opening, Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund, CEO of DLR, said: “We are delighted that we are now represented in Hamburg – one of the biggest hubs of civil aviation in the world – with two newly established DLR institutes, and to closely co-operate in the ZAL with our industry partners, in the field of application-oriented research.”

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