SKF recently announced a supplier agreement with Lilium, developer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet. SKF has supported Lilium on the design of electric motor bearings for the Lilium Jet’s electric engine and has agreed to support the program by producing electric motor bearings for the type-conforming aircraft.
The emerging electric aircraft market has great potential to change the way we look at aviation and logistics, allowing for a more sustainable way of transporting people and goods. Market research shows that by 2030, the eVTOL market could potentially be worth up to 30 billion dollars (Acumen Research and Consulting).
Greg Zimmerman, director aerospace business unit at SKF, says: “With electrification, the aerospace industry will experience a transformation in the coming years. We are pleased to be a part of this development by being the preferred bearing supplier on the electric motor bearings of the Lilium Jet. It supports our strategic focus on sustainability and our commitment towards the achievement of the goals set out in the Paris Climate agreement. We are the first bearing supplier to have a dedicated product portfolio, team and partnership experience in this exciting electric aviation segment.”
After almost two years of collaborative work and a significant number of iterations, the SKF bearings are now undergoing final certification and qualification tests. With a dedicated electric aviation team and strong technical support, SKF has been able to help Lilium reduce system weight, fulfil Aerospace certification requirements and meet low-cost and short lead time targets.
SKF has also been able to offer support to the whole Lilium impact and endurance test campaign at the SKF Valence Aerospace Test Centre in France, as well as run risk mitigating specific tests on the electric motor bearings.
Martin Schuebel, SVP procurement operations at Lilium Jet, says: “We’ve been impressed with the development progress made in cooperation with SKF on this important component of our revolutionary electric jet engine. We chose SKF based on their ability to provide quality and safe components. The agreement is fully aligned with our supply chain strategy, which is founded on strong partnerships with established Tier 1 aerospace companies.”