Schübeler Technologies GmbH: Challenging Projects Propelled by Aerodynamics Expertise

In this increasingly competitive world, cutting-edge companies are those that take on one-off challenges, engaging their teams to provide innovative solutions through the creation of never-been-done-before products. This is particularly true when designing propulsion components for the UAV and professional motorsports sectors. These industries rely on products constructed with precision, efficiency and longevity in mind, systems that not only meet the customer’s unique application, but exceeds their speed-torque propulsion expectations as well.

Schübeler Technologies GmbH offers a full product lineup of robust turbo fans, jets, compressors, pumps, electric motors, carbon fiber and aluminum composites. These rugged components are designed to withstand extreme field use and demanding applications, providing thrust power and lightweight durability for high tech functionality.

Daniel Schübeler, CEO and Founder, explains, “The idea customer comes to us with a new and challenging project, something which not has been done before, and he asks for things which we can solve for him. It needs kind of a turbo machine propeller to move air, to maybe move water, and he has a demand for an efficient system—an efficient and lightweight system—that is what we do.”

Founded in 1997, Schübeler’s primary focus is on research and development, pioneering radical innovations that will shape the future of propulsion technology in more than just the drone, aviation and motorsports industries! To learn why craftsmanship, flexibility and the ability to develop new products on the fly are propelling Schübeler Technologies to new heights, watch this elevating video.

The AVIGLE-Project (Avionic Digital Service Platform) is a research project aiming at developing a novel, broadly applicable avionic service platform which is able to support different high-tech services via open interfaces. This platform is a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed to serve a variety of application fields such as civil security, telecommunications, civil and surveying engineering but also consumer electronics and media.
A practical example might be a catastrophe scenario where reconnaissance images of the drone can be used for strategically important positioning of the rescue teams in order to provide fast help for the victims. The drone can generate virtual 3D images real-time. Due to the modular setup of the UAV and the possibility to use them in a swarm does not only enable the user to visualise a big regions but also to provide avionic radio coverage through femto and picocells. That way the mobile often insufficient infrastructure because of the huge amount of people can be supported. Schübeler Composite works closely with several partners of the project and is responsible for the UAV's propulsion and energy supply. This field of research serves as a further possibility for us to broaden our knowledge in all of these areas.

The hybrid aerial vehicle is a tiltwing which can realise both hovering flight and horizontal flight by pivoting the wing. The ability to start and land vertically is beneficial in territorially limited areas and the horizontal flight allows for energy efficient movement of the UAV. By means of lightweight design realised through a CFRP chassis and an optimised propulsion with lithium polymer accumulators we can reach flight times of 60min at a take-off mass of 10kg. and a payload of 1,5kg. The maximum velocity of the high-wing aircraft is 40m/s. The drone has a wingspread and fuselage length of 2m.

Within the scope of intense collaboration with the RWTH Aachen we created for example the wind tunnel model (see above) which was designed for evaluation purposes. By applying our knowledge concerning lightweight design and turbomachinery and due to the increase of knowledge during research and development of the AVIGLE solution an uncomparable platform has evolved. Over time the structure was in a constant optimisation process in order to improve the overall weight, strength and efficiency factor. We reach this for example by application of numerical flow simulation and non-autoclave manufacturing technologies. Due to its complexity and advanced target values the project has been prolonged. It is supported by the federal state NRW. In the following you can find companies and institutions being part of the project:

 

The future is multifunctional - ZIM project in cooperation with the LWF of the University of Paderborn

The demand for jet engines and compact axial compressors in the performance class up to 30 kW has increased in the recent years for various application fields such as racing, wind tunnel operation, industry and civil protection (drones). Together with the Laboratory for Materials and Fixing Technology (LWF) (University of Paderborn) we started a new research project aiming at developing a 30 kW jet engine, which has a multi-purpose usage. Unlike conventional - fossil-fuel driven - aggregates, the new development is driven by means of a high-performance and high-efficiency electric motor and is made entirely of lightweight materials.
The drive is based on the idea of a classic fan engine with high bypass ratio. The core engine that drives the main fan shall be replaced here by an extremely efficient electronically commutated electric motor. Only a very small part of the total air flow is conducted through the motor for cooling purposes.

Expansion of the application spectrum
Alongside the aerodynamic compressor, we also develop the highly efficient electric drive motor and with the combination of a classical fan stage and an electric motor we achieve the independence of the drive from fossil fuels. The completely emission-free, quiet and vibration-free operation of the jet engine allows the extension of spectrum; amongst other things its use is planned for wind tunnel measurements as a mass flow generator, for UAV propulsion, man-carrying gliders and industrial applications (e.g. as CO2 laser).
The jet engine will therefore consist largely of various lightweight materials such as carbon composites (carbon fiber reinforced plastics) and a high-strength aluminum alloys. This is necessary in order to fulfill the high requirements in terms of reliability and power density. Schübeler Composite increases its integration of advanced engineering knowledge (know) and its perfected practical expertise (how), that has grown for many years. This is the prerequisite to start such an innovative project and thus dare to enter into a new area of technology as well as to challenge the combination of new technologies in the enterprise.

Coping high performance requirements
The joining of the lightweight components, which will be under very high mechanical and thermal loads when operating, will probably be one of the biggest challenges in the development of the jet engine. "With the LWF we think we have found exactly the right partner for the upcoming challenges. We look forward to a successful cooperation.", says Daniel Schübeler, CEO of Schübeler Composite. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Meschut Gerson, director of the LWF, noted "The company Schübeler Composite approached us because of almost 40 years of experience in the calculation of characteristic values and interpretation of glued lightweight compounds under highly dynamic loads. We are looking forward to the challenges ahead of us, some of which both project partners may benefit from." During the project the LWF will make the used compounds predictable by numerical simulations and scalable for future performance levels. "At the end of the project Schübeler Composite is then able to interpret the sophisticated compounds within the new product independently," adds Marc Wünsche, project editor at the LWF.

The project receives innovation grant from the German Ministry of Economy and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM).

About Laboratory for Materials and Fixing Technology (LWF)
The Laboratory for Materials and Joining Technology (LWF) is a nationally and internationally recognized research institution specializing in the field of joining technology, especially adhesive bonding, mechanical joining, special processes of welding, hybrid joining and materials engineering.
The spectrum of research and development at the LWF covers basic research as well as public-funded application-oriented research projects, bilateral industrial cooperation and contract work. As a partner of SMEs, large corporations and industrial research organizations, we provide process-, material- and design-orientated research in advanced materials and joining technology for economic development and manufacturing of energy-efficient lightweight structures, focusing on the automotive and aerospace sector.
During our success story of now 35 years, research results of the LWF have found their way into several innovative products and applications and have won national and international awards.

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