Expo – Airship – Tiny House
MOC Simulation is breaking new ground
It’s where pilots learn to fly, train drivers fine-tune their skills, safely steering hundred tons of steel across the tracks, and amusement park visitors can experience the most unusual situations up close – we’re talking about simulators. These are sophisticated constructs that excel at imitating movement and recreating reality on a screen. Markus Lankes and his company MOC Simulation Services has made it his life's work to develop them.
“Risk-taking culture is something we live every single day,” says the company’s founder and chief innovation officer. “Large companies who can’t take as many risks due to their quality culture come to us if they need solutions. Prototypes can’t typically be developed based on fixed protocols.” A skilled trade worker by training, he knows full well about the challenges he might be facing on the way. Simulators have been with him most of his life. “If you’ve been doing nothing else for 30 years, there aren’t that many situations that throw you off track. Which is why we develop in a very short time. Others earmark two years for planning and development, we can do it in six months.”
His first business encounter with simulators was in the early 1990s. At the time, the Bavarian native decided to operate four of them as an attraction for visitors. He did so at Audi Racing DTM or Deutsches Museum in Munich.
“This one time an architect approached me and asked whether I could loan him a simulator for the German pavilion at the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition,” remembers Markus Lankes. “I took a look at the whole thing and said: That won’t work like that. We will have to build something special, specifically for you.” A short time later, he held a design in his hands. Back then still a one-man business, he drummed up a team and found other companies to support him. “In the course of eight months, we built what was then the world’s largest simulator. As big as a movie theatre for 80 people, including wheelchair spaces and a movement system. There was a nine-hour queue. The German pavilion was said to be the main attraction.”
Later, he switched from entertainment simulations to industrial applications and came to Berlin. His first job there was an airship simulator for Biosphäre Potsdam, a tropical botanical garden. It was then he founded MOC Simulation Services in Adlershof. “Until then, we had been working for large, international companies for which we built initial samples for driving and flight simulators,” says Markus Lankes. “For example, we would get a request for developing a simulator for the medical crews of rescue helicopters.” His team would then build the prototype, sometimes an upgraded version, and, finally, the zero batch. The clients then take over series production. “Our focus so far has been on mechanics,” he says. “We always call what we build the Mothership. We are now also starting to offer the entire system not least due to the pandemic. In other words, buying and integrating the software components, too.” Built in this way, an air taxi simulator is currently being developed in the spaces in Adlershof, which the company soon wants to market as a stand-alone product.
“We are opening up many new paths,” says Markus Lankes. “We often travel to aircraft junkyards for our simulators and have them cut out a cockpit that we then use to build a flight training simulator on top of it. During one of the last visits, we came up with the idea of making something useful out of the rest of the aircraft as well.” Not as a simulator but as a sustainable product for living or working. As early as next year, the plan is to fill the old aircraft fuselages with life in the shape of tiny houses or tiny offices. Markus Lankes is sure: “If you have an idea at the right time and just a bit of luck, many things are possible.”
Kai Dürfeld for Adlershof Journal