CFK Nord
CFK Nord
Image 1/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

CFK Nord

The re­search fa­cil­i­ty in Stade was found­ed in 2010 as one of the two sites op­er­at­ed by the Cen­ter for Lightweight Pro­duc­tion Tech­nol­o­gy (ZLP). Be­long­ing to CFK Nord, it has been an au­tonomous part of the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) since 2011.
Aerial view of the Stade site
Aeri­al view of the Stade site
Image 2/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Aerial view of the Stade site

The DLR site in Stade al­lows the sci­en­tif­ic and in­dus­tri­al sec­tors to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in the re­search of new meth­ods aimed at the de­vel­op­ment of ide­al pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies.
GroFi system
GroFi sys­tem
Image 3/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

GroFi system

The GroFi sys­tem (GroFi: large com­po­nents in fi­bre place­ment) for high­ly pro­duc­tive fi­bre place­ment with up to eight robots op­er­at­ing in syn­chro­ni­sa­tion.
Demonstration of coordinated fibre placement combining automated fibre placement (AFP) and automated tape laying (ATL) technology
Au­to­mat­ed fi­bre place­ment
Image 4/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Automated fibre placement

Demon­stra­tion of co­or­di­nat­ed fi­bre place­ment com­bin­ing au­to­mat­ed fi­bre place­ment (AFP) and au­to­mat­ed tape lay­ing (ATL) tech­nol­o­gy at ZLP Stade.
BALU autoclave
BALU au­to­clave (Biggest Au­to­clave Lab­o­ra­to­ry Unit)
Image 5/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

BALU autoclave (Biggest Autoclave Laboratory Unit)

The DLR sci­en­tists in Stade use the ‘green au­to­clave’ to work on per­fect­ly hard­ened air­craft com­po­nents made of car­bon fi­bre-re­in­forced poly­mers (CFRP) – al­ways think­ing of pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.
BALU autoclave from the inside
BALU au­to­clave
Image 6/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

BALU autoclave

Mea­sur­ing 20 me­tres in length and with a di­am­e­ter of just un­der six me­tres, the world’s largest re­search au­to­clave is sit­u­at­ed at the DLR site in Stade.
Image 7/7, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)


EVo sys­tem (EVo: near net shape con­tour com­po­nents) for the qual­i­ty-as­sured man­u­fac­ture of large quan­ti­ties of CFRP com­po­nents.

The research facility in Stade was established in 2009 as one of the two research sites operated by the Center for Lightweight Production Technology (Zentrum für Leichtbauproduktionstechnologie; ZLP) and has been an independent site of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) since 2011. The research conducted in Stade aligns with the programmatic research approach of DLR. It caters to the upper level of the existing process chain in the development and manufacture of components made of carbon-fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP). Here, the work focuses on industrial-scale production technology.

Center for Lightweight Production Technology

The Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) is a national research facility within DLR consisting of one site in Stade and another site in Augsburg. It is equipped to handle the entire process chain for components made of fibre composites. The Center collaborates with the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig and the Institute of Structures and Design in Stuttgart to identify mutual research issues and to exploit synergy in the development of new technologies. The DLR site in Stade allows the scientific and industrial sectors to enhance cooperation in the research of new methods aimed at developing ideal production technologies.

Using one-of-a-kind, multifunctional, large-scale facilities, the ZLP develops strategies for manufacturing large, high-quality CFRP components in a cost-effective manner. To achieve this, every step in the process is studied, integrated and, using the appropriate technical infrastructure, reproduced on an industrial scale. This setup is also available to customers for flexible development and validation in tandem with the DLR production processes according to their requirements.

Research for the aerospace, automotive and wind energy sectors

Carbon-fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) are used for, among other things, manufacturing next-generation commercial aircraft – they are lighter, more fuel-efficient and more environment-friendly with regard to pollutant emissions.

CFRPs are also increasingly used to manufacture automobiles and rotor blades for wind power generation systems. To meet this growing demand, high quality, cost-effective production methods are needed. The ZLP is conducting research on the industrial scale to be able to respond specifically and flexibly to the particular requirements of the respective industry.

The research conducted at the DLR site in Stade mainly focuses on highly productive fibre placement methods and sensor-guided, component-based control of thermally inert curing processes in autoclaves or open moulds to manufacture extremely large and complex components. The researchers in Stade are also working on fully automated manufacturing of high-volume components using dry textile semi-finished products in the resin transfer moulding (RTM) process. In addition to the aerospace sector, the processes being developed are also intended for use in the automotive industry and for the production of rotor blades for wind energy systems.

To conduct these research activities, the DLR site in Stade is equipped with the following innovative facilities:

  • a fully-automated RTM process chain
  • BALU research autoclave (420 degrees Celsius, length: 20 m, diameter: 5.8 m)
  • a CNC-based multi lay-up facility for automated fibre placement (AFP) and automated tape laying (ATL)
  • rotor blade mould for wind energy systems (length: 45 metres)

Institutes and facilities at the site

DLR Center for Lightweight Production Technology
DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems

  • Mark Schmidt
    Head of the Sites Braun­schweig, Cochst­edt, Göt­tin­gen, Han­nover, Stade and Trauen
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Telephone: +49 531 295-2100
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig
  • Jasmin Begli
    Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Braun­schweig, Cochst­edt, Stade and Trauen
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Pub­lic Af­fairs and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
    Telephone: +49 531 295-2108
    Fax: +49 531 295-12100
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig

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