What software is required in aerospace technology
Aircraft engines are top technological products with a long life cycle. That is between 30 and 50 years. During this period, the aircraft take off and land around 25,000 times and are in the air for a good 100,000 hours. The development of a complete engine takes around 15 years and costs billions of euros. No company can afford that. This is why different manufacturers work together on an engine, and the drive is created from the individual components. These include air blades, compressors, combustion chambers and turbines. MTU Aero Engines, Munich, is the world market leader in low-pressure turbines. The largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A 380, gets its thrust from engines in which MTU is involved. The four engines of the wide-body aircraft suck in 1.5 tons of air per second.
The Munich-based company is also involved in future engine concepts, for example with the so-called transmission fan. In aviation language, fan is the technical term for air scoops. The newly developed engines will be used in the next generation of Airbus medium-haul aircraft.
Many projects for research
The aerodynamic efficiency of the flow in the engine enables fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 15 percent. It is no different in the air than on the ground: consumption and emissions should fall. Aerodynamics are often simulated and products are developed digitally at MTU. In both cases, the company uses IT specialists who are otherwise mainly employed in the IT department and project-related in the operational development area.
For example Michael Schacher. The 35-year-old studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and, after graduating in 2004, moved to the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich to do his doctorate. In January 2011 he started at MTU in Munich as an IT system planner. Its task is divided into two parts: On the one hand, it is about maintenance and support of software. The other focus is project work for development. Most recently, Schacher was involved in the work on virtual engines. Developers can now see where the space required for fuel lines is no longer sufficient, and employees in final assembly find it easier to work with a 3D model than with the two-dimensional variant.
In this project too, Schacher was an internal service provider for his colleagues. "They are technically and scientifically oriented. If you understand what your problem is, it is easier to find a solution," says the IT professional. A basic understanding of engines is therefore helpful.
MTU has around 170 employees in the IT department, around 100 of whom are computer scientists or mathematicians. "We are assuming that we will need more IT specialists in the long term. This is also due to the close connection between the IT department and engineering," says CIO Erwin Pignitter. Software is increasingly required there, for example for simulations or digital product development. The fields of application for computer scientists range from software development to the design and operation of global enterprise management systems. In addition to 1,300 industrial applications, the company operates a supercomputing data center. "We need computer scientists with a solid basic education who are proficient in common programming languages and are familiar with software and process design," said the IT boss.
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