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The new FACC Technology Center and Engineering Test Center

FACC launches new Technology Center and Engineering Test Center

FACC AG yesterday officially opened its new Technology Center at its St. Martin location in Upper Austria. The newly-constructed office building with 500 workplaces was completed on schedule in August after a construction period of 14 months. In future it will serve to bundle the company's worldwide R&D activities. Yesterday also saw inauguration of the new Engineering Test Center. Annexed to the Technology Center, this is one of the most modern plants for the analysis, testing and certification of composite materials and components.

Numerous representatives of customers, suppliers and business partners from all over the world participated in the festivities, along with figures from politics and the business world. With his patronage of the formal opening Michael Strugl, State Minister of Economic Affairs, praised the technical progress and the resulting secure future potential of FACC as a global supplier of the aviation industry, “FACC is a valuable technology leader and economic driving force for the business community of Upper Austria. A flagship company, which is characterized by unusually high level of innovation and is a strong employer for the region. Only those who invest in research and innovation today will have commercial success tomorrow. This is what FACC stands for - and this course will be strengthened by the new technology center and the multimillion Euro investment.”

Walter Stephan, CEO of FACC AG, declared in his speech, “Our 'Vision 2020' strategy is clear: we want to consolidate our position as one of the leading suppliers of technologically advanced lightweight constructions in the expanding aviation sector and become our customers' preferred partner.” With the new Technology Center and Engineering Test Center, FACC is making a major investment in the future and at the same time a clear commitment to the Upper Austrian location where the company currently employs 2,400 workers, 380 of which FACC has taken on over the course of last year. And thanks to the high level of orders and steady growth, the next few months will see creation of approx. 100 further new jobs.

FACC was supported in this investment by TMG, the business agency for the region of Upper Austria. “What we are celebrating today is also the result of an intense cooperation between FACC and the various authorities, and the committed support of the region of Upper Austria”, pointed out Walter Stephan.

Hub of global R&D activities

Through intense research activity and development of cutting-edge innovations, FACC has in the last few years successfully pressed through its technological advantage. Investment in research and development increased in the last financial year by 37.5 percent to €96.8 million and is set to keep rising. The company received a specific acknowledgement of its innovative strength in the form of the “Frontrunner” award from the Austrian Ministry of Traffic, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), which was presented to FACC as the first company in Austria by Innovation Minister Doris Bures during her visit in May this year.

The global presence of its engineering organization with locations in Germany, Slovakia, USA, Canada, China and India enables FACC to develop components and processes in cooperation with leading customers across the world. The new technology center will in future serve as the hub of the company's global R&D activities. Additionally, the engineering departments of the divisions Aerostructures and Interiors, which have to date been situated in separate facilities, will be brought together in the new building.

Innovative strength bundled, growth secured

In line with the motto “growth through innovation”, FACC is setting a clear signal with its new Technology Center that the company intends to continue developing its innovative strength in the future. “The challenges which the aviation traffic of the future presents for aircraft are immense and various. Therefore the development of aircraft and their components will require further innovations in lightweight construction”, stresses Robert Machtlinger, COO at FACC AG. The new Technology Center has created the ideal preconditions for research and development. Its focuses of work include research into process and material technologies, component design and development, including stress engineering, testing and certification, tool design and production, right up to the introduction into serial production. With the additional capacities FACC can continue its growth successfully and set new standards in advanced lightweight aircraft construction.

Faster development processes, innovative manufacturing concepts

Relocation to the new building achieves the ideal combination of the individual sectors. “This brings advantages for the employees who now have - in the purest sense of the word - 'shorter' decision-making paths”, says Machtlinger. And the customers also benefit from the faster processes because for many of them short decision-making cycles are absolutely essential. The optimized logistics, customized working systems, short distances as well as highly-skilled, enthusiastic employees also make an important contribution.

Beyond the materials and components development, there is also the associated manufacturing process which must on the one hand take account of the increasing cost pressures and on the other hand conform to the highest standards in terms of safety and lifetime. FACC develops concepts consisting of the optimal selection of manufacturing technologies, processes and tools, which guarantee cost-optimized component production in line with requirements and press ahead with the automation of production steps. The advanced test devices and systems in the new Engineering Test Center guarantee high component quality and safe and efficient operation in subsequent flight services.

Testing everything that moves...

Following formation of the etc Prüf und Test GmbH in July 2013 and the partial spin-off from 1 September, the Engineering Test Center in St. Martin is now operating as an independent company with 35 highly-qualified staff. FACC AG holds 91% of the shares, the remaining 9% are held by Techno-Z Ried. The core competence in material and component testing with the current clear focus on composite materials, as required in the aviation industry, is intended to be rapidly expanded to the automotive sector, products for the sports and leisure industry, renewable energies and special machine construction.

Whenever something moves or is moved, it must be borne in mind that masses are involved which will use up energy. The lighter the better – what applies to the aviation industry also applies to other branches. Now in the Engineering Test Center, not only FACC but also other regional and transregional companies have a highly specialized service provider.

“Growth through innovation” assures the sustained competitiveness of FACC for the future. The new Technology Center and Engineering Test Center have given this slogan a modern future-oriented twist.

Press release issued by FACC AG on September 21, 2013


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