"Finger on the Fly" technology wins Safran Innovation Competition

Paris, April 27, 2010

Results of annual competition reflect Safran's strategic focus on Research & Technology

Research and innovation are strategic priorities at Safran, and play a pivotal role in building solid foundations for the future. In addition to its role in major European and international research programs, the Safran group also proactively encourages innovation by its own employees, for instance through an annual Innovation Competition. This competition is open to all Safran group employees and recognizes their creativity and dynamism in developing advanced technologies and innovative solutions across the Group's full spectrum of expertise.

The annual awards ceremony for the Safran Innovation Competition was held today at the Safran Museum in Villaroche, near Paris, and spotlighted the following awards:

  • The Safran Grand Prize went to a team from Sagem Sécurité for its "Finger on the Fly" system, a biometric technology for the contactless acquisition of fingerprints from a moving hand. This innovative new system could considerably expand the range of applications for this key security technology.

  • The Special Prize for Participative Innovation, awarded in conjunction with the weekly industry news magazine Usine Nouvelle, went to a team from Snecma for their development of a model assembly jig using the lost wax process, which eliminates most of the usual handling restrictions.

  • The Lean-Sigma Innovation Prize went to a team from Hispano-Suiza for their collaborative improvement initiative carried out with Vignal Artru Industries, a supplier of precision mechanical parts. The project was based on a reorganization of workshops, to improve quality, while reducing lead-times and costs.

  • The Sustainable Development Innovation Prize was awarded to a team from Messier-Dowty for their new assembly and packaging system for the Boeing 787 landing gear, which reduces waste, simplifies gear assembly and improves working conditions.

  • The Patented Innovation Prize was jointly awarded to teams from Aircelle and Hispano-Suiza for their work on optimizing the electrical architecture of the nacelle on the new Leap-X engine, to reduce weight and improve reliability. This work was carried out within the scope of the Group's research into "more electric" aircraft.

Outstanding innovation: more than 500 patents in 2009

The Safran group was ranked fourth among French companies in 2009 for the number of patents published during the year. Safran moved up two spots in the ranking by the French National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI)* for the period 2006-2009, but above all it increased the number of patents published by 50%. Safran filed for 504 patents in 2009, increasing its portfolio of active patents to 13,000. This impressive performance is driven by a constant focus on innovation in all business sectors, including engines, aircraft equipment, and defense, identification and detection systems.

"Safran's strong growth in published patents reflects a constant focus on technological excellence shared by all our products," said Jean-Paul Herteman, Chief Executive Officer of Safran. "Through technological innovation, Safran maintains its world-class positions in our core markets, and continues to win strategic contracts."

Safran's Scientific Council celebrates first anniversary

Safran is also celebrating the first anniversary of its Scientific Council this month. Chaired by French physicist Georges Charpak, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1992, the Scientific Council bolsters the Group's ability to detect disruptive technologies and potential breakthroughs well ahead of the curve, and to implement the science and technology concepts needed to design tomorrow's products.

Comprising seven members, the Scientific Council teams up with Safran's own experts to address all scientific subjects covered by the Group's research efforts, such as detection technologies for security applications, and the modeling of composite structures. The Council analyzes in depth the scientific issues underlying Safran's businesses, and fully meets the Group's assigned objectives of fostering discussions and emulation among Safran's scientists, engineers and technicians.

*INPI: Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle. The patents published in 2009 were filed with INPI between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.

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Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defense and Security. Operating worldwide, the Safran group has 54,900 employees and generated sales exceeding 10.4 billion euros in 2009. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of 1.1 billion euros in 2009. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and its share is part of the SBF 120 and Euronext 100 indexes.


Safran Group
Communication Dept.
2, bd du Général Martial Valin
75724 Paris Cedex 15 – France

Catherine Malek
Tel : +33 (0)1 40 60 80 28
Fax : +33 (0)1 40 60 80 26

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