Research and Development
Diehl Aviation – Innovation is in our DNA
Hardly any industry has been associated with "innovation" in the way aviation has been since its start. In this day and age of industrial digitization, aviation companies more than ever thrive on their innovations and the dynamics of developing and launching new products and services.
Local dynamics – regional strength – global success
For Diehl Aviation, these dynamics are spread across several sites, but the effect is also reflected in the collaboration and synergy effects throughout the entire division. The structure – strong sites, strong group – accounts for a large part of our special efficiency.
Crossing divisions: Wealth of ideas and creative power
Innovation is in our DNA. This applies to innovation in flight control, to the use of light, water and air supply as well as to novel design models throughout the entire interior cabin design.
With our innovative solutions, we have been able to set international standards for aviation systems and cabins in the aviation industry.
We are among the global technology leaders in the field of cabin and flight control. And there are reasons for this:
- Decades of work in research and development are reflected in a large number of patents. They ensure our technological edge in certain product and service segments.
- Across its sites, Diehl Aviation employs more than 300 people in research & development. This benefits our customers.
- Economic self-sufficiency through substantial size. This enables us to manage the relative long development cycles in the industry.
- Cooperations with universities and research institutions, participation in numerous research projects ensure - even across sectors - an ongoing transfer of knowledge.
Learn more about our funding providers
Research projects always pose a financial risk: greater innovation improves the chances of groundbreaking developments but also poses an increased risk for investors. To mitigate such risks, we seek financial support through government funding, if possible.
We mainly receive funds from programs offered by the European Union or the federal and state governments of Germany. For this reason, we are always grateful to the relevant institutions ‒ especially since the realization of selected research projects often would not even be possible without their help.
We do everything in our power to use the funds made available to us in the best possible way by channeling all our commitment, workforce, and time into new projects, by generating jobs, if possible, and by helping to keep German companies competitive on the global market.
Learn more about our partners
Large, diversified innovation projects live from dynamic co-operation, which is why we are working with partner companies as well as leading universities and research facilities that are best suited to complementing our knowledge and competencies.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.) is a reliable partner in major research facilities, and we are utilizing their essential capabilities in the area of systems and cabins. For many years now, we have also worked with the Fraunhofer Institute on industrialization projects in the areas of fiber composition, robotics, and automation, to name just a few. Another equally renowned and reliable partner is Lufthansa Technik, with whom we are cooperating especially in regard to retrofit solutions.
Where university co-operations are concerned, we have had an outstanding collaboration with the Hamburg University of Technology (TU Hamburg) over the years on projects such as product development, production technology, and 3D printing. We are also collaborating with the TU Stuttgart mainly on projects in the avionics field, and with the TU Dresden in the areas lightweight construction and fiber composition.
Our biggest clients are often also our most important partners in development. This especially applies to our co-operation with Airbus for our complete product portfolio, as well as to collaborative projects with Boeing, where we support each other in the development of components for cabin systems and avionics.
Learn more about our networks
As part of our activities in regional and global networks, we actively pursue an extensive exchange with other companies and institutions in our industry or with players using similar technologies. This allows us to gain comprehensive insight into the market, provides means for a mutual exchange of knowledge, and offers opportunities for new cooperations.
One of our important networking contacts is the Center for Applied Aeronautical Research (Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung, ZAL) in Hamburg, Germany, which we have been a part of since its founding in 2016. We are also a member of Carbon Composites e.V. (CCeV), a network of affiliated companies and research institutions that focuses on high-performance fiber composite materials in the D-A-CH region (an acronym for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). Furthermore, we have maintained close ties with the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI, Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie) network for decades, as well as with the “Leichtbauatlas” ‒ an interactive portal operated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie) where companies and institutions with high competencies in lightweight construction network.
Learn more about our current R&D-projects
The SYLVIA concept was specifically developed for single-aisle aircraft and combines lavatory and galley monuments in one module on the right-hand side using synergetic systems. The resulting free space on the opposite side can then be customized for other uses.
This way, SYLVIA not only increases the free space for custom-made designs but also reduces weight and costs through the shared use of systems and interfaces.
- Hygienic Lavatory
Diehl Aviation's Hygienic Lavatory concept offers a modular platform for all types of lavatories ‒ from space-saving to handicapped-accessible ‒ that can be installed easily and quickly in any aircraft and passenger class.
Hygienic Lavatory has a number of innovative features: from the “Easy Door” ‒ a new folding door with an optimum door panel split for easy, one-handed operation ‒ to a new generation of touchless features such as toilets with an automated flushing system or a faucet with integrated soap and disinfectant dispensers.
DIANA is a holistic, visionary design concept for passenger cabins. It combines all lining parts (e.g., side walls), monuments (lavatories and galleys), and other cabin elements in a single, comprehensive design. The various design elements and shapes interact with the cabin lighting system to create an “illuminating” novel and variable cabin experience for passengers ‒ from special geometrical effects to touchless controls and the ergonomic moveable bin.
- Digital Printing
This state-of-the-art design option uses a variety of combined technologies such as powder coating, dye-sublimation printing, and digital printing to provide new, freely configurable design and branding options for different purposes and requirements of airlines. Application of the digital print is the last step in the processing chain and happens after the relevant elements have been painted in a specified base color.
The options offered by digital printing are particularly suited to designing cabin lining parts such as side walls and hat racks and allow for a highly customizable cabin design with distinct prints instead of pre-printed décor foils.
DACAPO is short for “Distributed Autonomous Cabin Power“ ‒ a concept developed by Diehl Aviation to power passenger cabins without having to rely on generators or auxiliary power units.
The key element is a trolley-sized power cell with enough capacity to supply one or more galleys with electrical energy. The vision for the future: the excess energy generated by DACAPO can also supply other aircraft systems and even fully replace the “traditional” emergency power systems. Another advantage of DACAPO is the easy installation and the fact that the necessary hydrogen can be transported safely.
The DACAPO concept was awarded one of the coveted Crystal Cabin Awards at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in 2014.
- Halon-free fire suppression system
To date, the ozone-depleting substance halon may only be used for very few purposes worldwide ‒ including as a lightweight fire suppressant for cargo holds of passenger aircraft. However, its use in new aircraft types is only permitted until the year 2024.
Diehl Aviation has developed a solution to replace halon in this area in the future. A similar approach was initially employed by railways and is based on combining two already tried and tested systems: the use of nitrogen as the main extinguishing agent and the use of water mist. Diehl Aviation managed to reduce the complexity and materials usage of the already existing systems, thereby making the resulting solution suitable for aircraft.
In 2016, the halon-free fire suppression system received the coveted Crystal Cabin Award at the Aircraft Interiors Expo.