Leichtwerk AG develops technologies and products for lightweight structures. The focus lies in aircraft design, wind turbines, high-speed trains, automobile and research facilities. Furthermore, the company develops test parts with predefined structural properties, like wind tunnel models with elastic properties, or test parts for investigating component properties and optimizing production processes. Leichtwerk has considerable expertise in fiber reinforced plastics and bondings.
In these fields, solutions require the use of complex analytical methods. Leichtwerk applies state-of-the-art scientific-based methods whilst maintaining a focus on user-friendliness and efficiency.
Sustainability in corporate management is seen as a significant element of successful development. This particularly includes strong staff and customer ties that can be realized in good balance with economic efficiency.
The corporate goals are to achieve a high added value for business partners and staff alike and to increase the overall value of the company - both in keeping with the interests of the shareholders.
Establishment, development of eta
Leichtwerk AG, as it exists today, has its origins in the freelance engineering career of Dr. Reiner Kickert. At the beginning of 1996, the Bürogemeinschaft Flugtechnik & Leichtbau (aeronautics and lightweight construction associates) was founded on the premises of the former Tannenberg Barracks at Braunschweig Airport. In the rooms shared with Hans-Ludwig Meyer, former head of the aeronautics division at DLR Braunschweig, Dr. Kickert devoted himself to the development of the world's largest glider, "eta". The project was commissioned by a group of famous world record gliders (H.W. Grosse, E. Müller, H. Lodes, B. Gantenbrink, U. Mantica) mid 1995. On 31 July 2000, the aircraft had its successful maiden flight at Cochstedt airport. Subsequently, a limited series of the aircraft was built by manufacturing companies in the Rhön region and in southern Germany.
In 1999 the company moved into the main building of the airport, and in 2002 the leichtwerk brand was registered. Hans-Ludwig Meyer retired and the office-sharing arrangement was disbanded. The development of large rotor blades for wind turbines introduced an important new field of activity. Wind tunnel models made of fiber reinforced plastics, that distorted like their prototypes in the airstream, were subsequently developed for institutes at the research centers in Braunschweig and Göttingen. Special commissions for car body reinforcements were also processed. This secured an additional line of business besides aircraft design, i.e. extremely lightweight construction, particularly with fiber reinforced structures, spanning numerous different industry sectors. The year 2003 saw the establishment of protowerk Manufaktur and the setup of a production site for prototype constructions. In 2007 the engineering company received accreditation from the European aeronautics authority as an independent design organization for prototype construction with an office of airworthiness.
In August 2009, the companies leichtwerk Ingenieurbüro e.K. and protowerk e.K. were spun off into the newly established Leichtwerk AG.
Since 1998, Dr. Reiner Kickert has been providing the "Fiber Reinforced Structures" lecture during the summer semester at the Institute of Aircraft Design and Lightweight Structures (IFL) at Braunschweig Technical University.
Since 2013 Dr. Kickert also provides the lecture "Complex Fiber Reinforced Structures" during the winter semester.
Leichtwerk AG is a member of the "Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol à Voile" (OSTIV).
Member of the Association of German Glider Manufacturers
Member of the German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics (DGLR)
Luftfahrttechnisches Handbuch, LTH (a German publication on aviation for civil and military applications)
Leichtwerk AG is represented in the research group for load mechanics of the LTH by Dr. Ulf Weerts, chairman
Leichtwerk AG is a certified design organization (EASA21J.332) of the European aeronautical authority EASA, for the design of aircraft and aircraft components.
ISO 9001 certification (pending)