Safran announces Innovation Competition winners
Paris, April 6, 2011
Stimulating innovation to meet tomorrow's technology
challenges, a strategic imperative
The success of Safran's businesses depends in large part on the development and integration of cutting-edge solutions, which means that Research & Technology (R&T) is a strategic priority for these fast-growing and highly competitive markets. Safran therefore organizes an annual Innovation Competition, to encourage employees throughout the Group
and recognize their efforts in coming up with innovative solutions. Launched in 2005 and open to all Group companies, this award validates the reativity, initiative and dynamic performance of the men and women at Safran.
The winners for 2011 were announced yesterday during the annual prize ceremony at the Safran Aerospace Museum in Villaroche, near Paris. Five awards were presented, reflecting the broad variety of innovation within Safran, from breakthrough technologies to innovations in the field.
- Safran Grand Prize – Product, Technology or Service, was awarded to a team from Sagem for its electromechanical actuator (EMA), used to control an aircraft aileron. The long-term aim of this project is to replace the current hydraulic actuation of flight controls by an electrical system. It was developed within the scope of the Ampères research project, designed to develop technologies for tomorrow's "more electric" aircraft. The aileron EMA developed by Sagem was successfully flight tested in early January 2011.
- Lean-Sigma Innovation award, in conjunction with the French business magazine L'Usine Nouvelle, went to a team from Snecma for their achievement in converting a CFM56 aircraft engine assembly line into a "pulse line". Based on two parallel lines, each comprising five specific assembly stations, the engines are moved from station to station by an overhead handling system. Emblematic of the lean manufacturing approach, this project increased assembly capacity, reducing cycle time by 35% and increasing productivity by 25%, while also improving working conditions.
- Patented Innovation award, given to a team from Morpho Detection for its explosive detection system, using X-rays to examine suspect liquids and gels. Because of its fast operation and efficient analysis, this system can be used for luggage inspection in airports. A prototype should be ready by the end of 2011, and the first production-standard system in 2013.
- Innovation in the Field award went to a team from Aircelle, for a tool used to install and remove electrical equipment under the A380's wings. This new tool can be used by a single person, whereas the previous version required two, and is also much smaller than the earlier version – thus improving the service quality delivered and reducing the risk of accidents.
- Innovation for Sustainable Development award, won by a team from Messier-Dowty for a method used to enhance the safety of cans containing products entailing risks of incompatibility, during both use and transport. The innovation makes it mandatory to open the can only in front of the container where the product is to be poured. Although very simple, this innovation may be marketable elsewhere, and could even qualify for a patent.
Patents filed in 2010 on the rise
The Safran group filed for 580 patents in 2010, a 15% rise over the previous year, out of a total portfolio of 16,000 active patents. Safran was ranked fifth in France for the publication of patents, according to the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), confirming its spot in the Top 5, and its leadership in the aerospace, defense and security sector. Behind this performance is a constant focus on innovation in all business lines, whether for aerospace propulsion, aircraft equipment, defense systems, or the security market, including biometric ID and explosive detection systems.
Safran Scientific Council continues to contribute to innovation
Safran set up a Scientific Council in 2009 to help anticipate and develop breakthrough technologies for new programs. Since the death of original chairman Georges Charpak (winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Physics), the Council is chaired by Mathias Fink, French physicist, professor at ESPCI Paris Tech, Director of the Langevin Institute, member of the Academy of Sciences, and holder of the technological innovation chair at the Collège de
The Safran Scientific Council comprises six well-known scientists, specialized in different disciplines related to the Group's work: materials, modeling, automation, software, physics and optics. It provides proven expertise to meet four main objectives: enhance technological differentiation, oversee the excellence of scientific partnerships, validate the Group's experts, and provide advice and expertise in key areas.
Over these first two years, the Council's work has mainly focused on onboard systems, materials and processes (hot and metallic materials), modeling composite and metallic structures, and detection technologies for the security market. The Scientific Council has firmly established its position among the Group's research entities, giving Safran a high-level
platform for intellectual stimulation and exchange, helping it to identify, assess, choose and develop the most appropriate technologies for the next generation of products.
Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Safran group has more than 54,000 employees and generated sales of 10.8 billion euros in 2010. 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 1.2 billion euros in 2010. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and its share is part
of the CAC Large 60 index.
For more information, www.safran-group.com
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