Whether using wind tunnels, rocket test facilities or research aircraft – the scientists at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) require technical support to set up their experiments. That’s why DLR maintains a Technical Infrastructure department that provides assistance to the institutes and facilities at the sites with its Technical Workshops.
These are currently the subject of a comprehensive reform, the aim of which is to transfer the individual Technical Workshops into a Technology Systems House (TSH). Previously, while the requirements of customers such as the institutes of DLR could on the one hand not be fully met by a single onsite Technical Workshop, on the other hand the broad range of technical services on offer meant that employees’ capacities were often underused. The conceptual design of the new Systemhaus Technik (SHT)takes these aspects into account and bundles the entire range of services provided by the Technical Workshops.
When, for example, a scientist is planning the components of a satellite, he or she will take a draft to the workshop. The technicians create a design drawing and handle its implementation – in continuous consultation with the researchers. The Systemhaus Technik (SHT) then decides whether the engineering work is to be performed on site or at another DLR location, and which sub-contracts may be assigned to external service providers. This is possible because the individual locations specialise in different areas of functional and technical production expertise according to demand, and are thus available to all customers throughout Germany. The locations are grouped into three regions according to their key areas of functional and technical production expertise: the North Region mainly specialises in modelling and fibre-reinforcing techniques, the West Region in test bed and wind tunnel engineering and mechanical manufacturing, and the South Region in electronics and mechatronics. All locations offer onsite support for experiments as a basic service.
There have already been examples of successful cross-location and cross-regional collaborations between Technical Workshops in the past. One of these is the “Model Positioning Mechanism” project, an innovative kinematic system (parallel kinematics) that is to date the only one of its kind in a wind tunnel. It was developed and manufactured in order to position and move (roll, push, etc.) models in wind tunnels. The positioning system was implemented in a nine-month close collaboration between the Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, the German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (DNW) foundation and the Technical Workshops at Brunswick, Göttingen, Cologne and Stuttgart, and successfully tested in the autumn of 2004.
The objective of the Systemhaus Technik (SHT) is to systematically align its services to the needs of its customers. End-to-end process orientation and the introduction of a performance indicator and management system support this aim, making project handling more transparent for customers and reducing processing times. Statements regarding the time and cost required to implement an order can be made quickly and reliably. A contact person who is able to provide information on the status of the project and co-ordinate any changes is available to customers throughout the duration of a project.