The Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS, Francis Caria has stated that the Relaunch Plan by the French government to salvage the aviation industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond would enable Liebherr-Aerospace to withstand the crisis, to preserve as many skills and jobs and to ready for the “post-crisis” era.
Francis Caria also noted that the plan would allow Liebherr-Aerospace to fast-track progress along its technology road map to develop products that are more environmentally friendly. Accordingly, along with all industrial players in the aeronautics sector, Liebherr-Aerospace has taken up the challenge of developing “greener” aircraft as a means of ensuring that a carbon-neutral air transport sector becomes a reality.
Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS has applied for state support within the frame of two major projects. The first, which has already benefited from the “France Relance” plan, concerns the development of a new line of products that until now had been imported, namely fluid pumps. That project represents an overall investment of around € 5 million and will be co-funded by the state to the tune of € 2.4 million. The project will enable the company to extend its range of products in the area of thermal management on-board aircraft. This will also provide innovative solutions not only to space and the rail and road transport markets but also to emerging markets in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells.
This project involves two partners, both of which are SMEs from France, namely AKIRA and 2E WINDINGS, which will work together with Liebherr. In addition to the project’s concept, Liebherr has also made plans to manufacture these new devices on a new, fully automated and fully connected production line at its facility in Toulouse. From design to production, the life cycle of this new product will form a practical example of how the processes and tools that form part of the digital transformation can be applied. The project will take just over three years to complete.
Francis Caria, according to a statement issued by Liebherr-Aerospace, stated this when France’s Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, visited the site of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, which t formed part of his trip to the region of Occitania in connection with the relaunch plan for the aviation sector.
“The relaunch plan will enable us to withstand the crisis, to preserve as many skills and jobs as we can and, as our projects themselves specifically illustrate, to get our company ready for the “post-crisis” era; the plan will also allow us to fast-track our progress along with our technology road map as we endeavour to develop products that are more environmentally friendly. Along with all industrial players in the aeronautics sector, we have taken up the challenge of developing “greener” aircraft as a means of ensuring that a carbon-neutral air transport sector becomes a reality,” said Caria.
According to the statement, during the minister’s visit, the Liebherr-Aerospace team presented research and technology projects being carried out in preparation for the ‘post-crisis’ era, which will also contribute towards the transformation of air transport. The common objective of all parties within France’s aeronautics sector is to develop a carbon-neutral aircraft.
Bruno Le Maire announced during the visit that the second project would also receive support under the relaunch plan, which would focus on the development of high-speed air compressors that incorporate a unique type of technology involving the use of air bearings while the compressors would be used in the rail transport sector to provide propulsion powered by fuel cells.
“This project represents an overall investment of around € 4.9 million and will be co-funded by the state to the tune of € 1.25 million. The product itself will generate zero CO2 emissions and provide an alternative for a new generation of trains. The project will be developed in collaboration with partners based in France (two partner SMEs, namely 2E WINDINGS and Danielson Engineering) and a sub-contracting firm (Centum Adeneo). As a result of the project, Liebherr-Aerospace will be able to offer innovative solutions developed from within the aerospace sector itself, while continuing its efforts to diversify its activities targeted at the rail sector,” noted the statement.
The Minister, said the statement, convened a “round table” attended by the regional players in the aviation industry, including several companies that have benefited from the relaunch plan.