Posted on: 07 March 2016 by Mark Howells
tIn Hamburg, guests have celebrated the opening of ZAL TechCenter, a €100m 26,000sqm facility which will soon be populated by up to 600 researchers and which is the result of a partnership between the City of Hamburg, Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), four universities and twelve other partners.
ZAL will conduct aeronautical research in across six technical domains (TD) which reflect the corecompetencies of Hamburg’s aviation sector.
TD2 will concentrate on ‘Cabin Innovation & Technology,’ using a 20m wide, 11m high ZAL Cabin & Cargo Test Rig, in which fuselage cross sections of all of the world’s most common aircraft can be installed in order, for example, to test new arrangements of cabin elements.
TD6, ‘General Processes & Support Topics,’ will focus on virtual reality. The largest VR-capable screen in the northern half of Germany, 6m x 3.5m in size, will be installed in the building for the purpose, in a room with capacity for around 30 people.
Other fields of research include fuel cells, 3D printing, ‘Industry 4.0’/’Internet of Things’ and acoustics.
Roland Gerhards, CEO of the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, remarked, “The ZAL TechCenter provides the umbrella, under which the commercial and academic sectors will work together on the future of aviation. Our modern research and test infrastructure provides the ideal environment, and the first application-oriented products will be entering into service in just a few years.”
ZAL is leading to the creation of numerous new highly-qualified aviation jobs in Hamburg. Diehl, for example, Hamburg’s third-largest employer in the aviation industry, is establishing a completely new research and development team in the ZAL TechCenter. Companies such as Airbus and Lufthansa Technik are completely relocating some of their innovation departments to the new space. The research facility will also serve as an event location; as well as a 200-seat auditorium, there are 12 conference rooms and an open innovation marketplace.
“What makes the ZAL TechCenter so special is the fact that the partners are all equal and work together without hierarchical issues – universities, research institutions, and SMEs along with suppliers and major industrial players. Creative potential has free rein here,” stated Johannes Bussmann, chairman of the executive board of Lufthansa Technik AG.