The Importance of RV in HAv

Cluster Composition

By mapping the profiles of activities of entities located in HAv—its members—against the NACE classification, it can be diagnosed which sectors, in particular, they are representing ( ments/3859598/5902521/ks-ra-07-015-en.pdf). These are the manufacture of air and spacecraft, and related machinery; repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft; air transport; and activities, such as telecommunications; computer programming, consultancy and related events, or information service activities; as well as architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis, and scientific research and development. Hence, the division, groups and classes of NACE present in HAv are various, implying a certain level of diversification, in fact, not only related, but also unrelated, which might be attributed to the significant, metropolitan, city character of this particular cluster.

According to the members’ directory, there are 174 HAv members, which can be divided according to their form of the organisation into Research and Development, Production and MRO, Engineering Services, Other Sendees, Education and Training and Iustitutions/Associations. They represent different fields of activity.

76 Cluster -IC, RVand Stretching

Table 6.2 HAv composition according to field of activity (February 2019)

Fields of activity

Aircraft Pr oduction and MRO


Aircraft Systems and Components


Structural/Mechanical Engineering


Manufacturing and Process Technology


Cabin Equipment




HR Sendees




Urban Air Mobility


Air Traffic Systems and Air Traffic Control


Source: Own elaboration based on HAv members directory available on de/en/members.html (February 2019)

HAv represents two aspects of the aviation industry—activities linked to aerospace technology and engineering, construction and production of cabin systems, as well as the broad spectrum of sendees related to aeronautical technics and air traffic. The technological focus of the cluster members is much more extensive than the cluster concept and covers a heterogeneous field of knowledge-intensive services, from natural science to software development (Cantner, Graf & Topfer, 2015). (CC9) ‘To be honest. HAv is already pretty diversified. We have OEMs like Airbus or Lufthansa, we have consulting companies, we have small and medium-sized firms from different branches, IT, consulting, etc., but they all work, somehow, in the aviation industry’.

The diversification also happens at the level of single companies. For example, Airbus makes aerospace technologies adaptable in many different industries: thanks to additive manufacturing, they are becoming vertically integrated along the entire value chain, from design to serial production (Mellon Hao & Zhang, 2014).

Complex Co-Creation

The specific need for co-operation, also in terms of collaboration with related sectors, derives from the aviation peculiarities, in particular, the complexity of the final product. Making an aircraft involves certainly more than solely manufacturing. It should be rather defined as an ITS of production, rich in accompanying services and data processing.

The feature of the civil aviation industry is its high degree of complexity that is embodied in the final product, which includes a wide range of components. (CS2) ‘Aviation is about producing complex products, and it is tricky to assembly the final product'. Propulsion and navigation systems, which need to interact in the final product, are each extremely complex with a high dose of technological uncertainty pertaining to aircraft design (Buxbaum-Conradi, 2018). It requires advanced co-operation, if not cocreation. Co-creation refers to any activity, in which the consumer participates, actively and directly with the company, to design and develop new products, sendees and processes (Grabher & Ibert, 2018).

The regional aviation concept of ‘specialisation' also seems strategically smart/clever. Even if not that technically advanced, cabin painting, fitting or interior design are not that research-intensive and knowledge abundant, the Hamburg offering is more frequently and quickly wearing off (‘wear and tear’). It is depreciating and ageing relatively faster, and consequently, is more often in need of repair, causing a higher demand for local services.

A broader perspective is needed to assure the quality of the final product in the aviation sector. All partners, contractors, customers and suppliers should be involved in the ‘production process’ (co-creation). What matters in aviation is the total cost of ownership (TCO). It combines the price paid when buying the product and the following expenditures: future maintenance, fuel consumption and repair. TCO shows how much the owner would spend on an aircraft over the next few years. To calculate this TCO, one needs to know, not just the price of the purchased goods, but be familiar with the whole life cycle of the plane, to include all the following costs. Insight from users is critical. Short-term perspective does not pay off. It is crucial to have all partners under one roof, to account for possibly all aircraft stakeholders. (CR1) ‘The saying in HAv goes—Airbus knows all the strengths, Lufthansa Teclinik knows all the weaknesses’.

Aircraft is an extremely complex product which requires the co-operation of various areas and input from many fields - the stronger the input connected to the final product, the better. (CC10) ‘We are doing engines and need some insight from others. More co-operation across the chain would be interesting, because we always depend on other companies. We need a lot of suppliers, services; it would be easier if we are the one company, but it is impossible, obviously’.

The processes of manufacturing, slicing-up the previously promoted and implemented, thanks to modularisation and standardisation, have brought specific negative results. In this complex industry like aviation, interoperability of all components is critical, and dispersion and fragmentation cause problems with smooth integration. (CS2) ‘In aviation, they have programmes (like A380, A320), so they are experimenting a bit; when working on something new, and you do not have standards, you have to meet, to share tacit knowledge’.

However, some tendency to re-integrate and to synthesise these dispersed activities can be observed. Experts agree that there are some frictions and iterations, but it seems that the value chain constellation is slowly changing. The consolidation trend (‘growing together of OEM, trier 1. MRO films’) is also reflected in the new HAv strategy (55th HAv Forum, 2019).

(CE3) ‘You obviously cannot collocate the complete value chain in one place, but the more integrated the system you put into the final product; the more it comes from collocated entities, who jointly develop and integrate it, the better’. It is duly advantageous that suppliers in HAv can interact that closely, while developing the final product, which is, in that case, the aircraft for the large contractor. Airbus. It does not mean the whole product needs to be produced within the cluster, but there needs to be some efficient communication processes within the cluster.

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