18.05.2018 – 04.11.2018
The Zeppelin Museum is an institution which has always been dedicated to questions of the future. Hence, the programmatic title of the new exhibition “Innovations! Aiming for the Future.” While looking back at the innovative potential of the enterprises in the concern founded by Count Zeppelin, it also looks ahead.
Technological innovations evolve when ideas become marketable products that have a broad impact on society. The exhibition explores achievements and mistakes, and the ideas these companies developed when restrictions became obstacles on established paths. However, the show also looks to the future and illustrates the strategies the businesses developed to remain marketable and globally successful. Recognising risks that could endanger the core business can pave the way for new business models.
One Hundred Years of Innovations – From the Zeppelin to the Cream Collector
On altogether 1000 square metres the exhibition presents technological innovations which were largely codeveloped in Friedrichshafen and had a global impact. These achievements range from airship travel and lightweight construction in aluminium, the development of engines, transmissions and complete power units as well as automobiles, seaplanes and aeroplanes composed of lightweight metal, the exploration of streamlining and aeronautical meteorology to the construction of satellites and components for space travel.
The aerodynamics department of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH was particularly innovative. Installed in 1921, the company’s wind tunnel was the most powerful of its kind in Germany. This department manifests the extent to which innovations from the field of aeronautical technology influenced mobility on roads and rails. In the early 1920s, Paul Jaray, the first director of the aerodynamics department, created an extremely progressive streamlined car, which defined automotive engineering until the 1950s. Impelled by the need to remain marketable in difficult times, the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH always had an interest in new markets such as plant and container construction. This led to the invention of the revolutionary drivable “Rahmsammler”. The “Cream Collector” separated cream and milk on site which kept the by-product skimmed milk from going sour. It became easier to digest for the calves and time-consuming deliveries from the factory were no longer necessary.
Rediscovery of a Unique 1950s Automobile
The showpiece of the exhibition is a unique product of the automobile industry which is on display in Europe for the first time. In 1957 the Fahrzeuginstandsetzung Friedrichshafen (FIF), part of today’s Zeppelin concern, helped to construct the unique luxury sportscar for a wealthy pair of brothers from the USA. The Zeppelin concern purchased the perfectly preserved automobile and loaned it to the museum. The vehicle, the rolling chassis, and the fascinating story of its development and history will be presented in Germany at the opening of the exhibition.
Strategies and Developments for the Future
The second floor of the museum is dedicated to the presentation of three global concerns from Friedrichshafen: The ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the Zeppelin GmbH, and the Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG provide insights into their contemporary approach to implementing innovations in their enterprises, the strategies they follow, and their current work on new developments. In this section the exhibition is transformed into a laboratory of the future.
The ZF Friedrichshafen AG is introducing the technology trend autonomous driving in five steps with the vision “Zero Accidents”. This concept ranges from assisted driving for more safety to partial and high automation, and finally, to fully automated driving. The fifth step is driverless locomotion on all routes and in all situations, thus enabling self-driving vehicles to reach any given destination. The system takes over the complete task of driving for all kinds of courses and traffic.
The Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG with the core brands MTU and MTU Onsite Energy has dedicated its display to the functionality and the advantages of the MTU Hybrid-PowerPack®, the intelligent drive system for rail vehicles. Visitors can operate a simulation based on the results of test drives with the Hybrid-PowerPack® along the railway network Westenfrankenbahn between Aschaffenburg and Laudenbach. The fuel consumption during a ride with a hybrid train is simulated in accordance with the vehicle information and the profile of the planned route. The simulation is supplemented with the film “Was macht das MTU Hybrid-PowerPack® so revolutionär? (What makes the MTU Hybrid-PowerPack® so revolutionary?)”. The film “Flug durch den Motor (A flight through the engine)” explains the technologies that make MTU diesel engines so powerful, economical, and clean.
The “Digital Building Site” presented by the Zeppelin concern reflects the enterprise’s integrated range of services. Visitors can take an interactive, digital journey through a virtual construction world from the planning and establishment of a building site to the development and implementation of the constructions. The Zeppelin concern offers its customers one-stop solutions – visitors are provided with the digital experience of a building site.
The coupling of research and development in a special test department at the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH was innovative in a very modern sense. From 1910 onwards, it gave engineers the opportunity to work on promising technological solutions whose specific applications were often not yet foreseeable. The test department was an early predecessor of today’s industrial development departments.
With a view to both the past and the future, the show in Friedrichshafen also illustrates the effects of innovations on culture and society. Visitors are invited to become actively involved by taking part in the extensive accompanying programme. The results will be incorporated in the concept for the extension of the Zeppelin Museum.
The generous donation of the Freundeskreis zur Förderung des Zeppelin Museums enabled the translation of the exhibition texts into braille and simple German. The simultaneous translation of the vernissage on Thursday, 17 May at 7:30 pm was made possible by the contribution of the Sparkassenverband Bodensee and the Rotary Club Friedrichshafen e.V.
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