Safran Innovation Day to spotlight creativity
Paris, February 12, 2020
Innovation has always been a key to Safran's strategy. To recognize and stimulate this creative and even disruptive mindset, Safran created the Safran Innovation Awards 15 years ago. This friendly internal competition stimulates creativity by rewarding employees' most promising innovations, from new technologies to suggestions from the shop floor. A total of 115 projects were submitted in six different categories this year, reflecting employee engagement worldwide.
The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, February 6, at the Safran Research & Technology center in Saclay, south of Paris. Philippe Petitcolin, Chief Executive Officer of Safran, was at the ceremony, along with more than 500 employees, including experts, researchers, engineers and innovators from across the Group.
Christel Sasso / Capa Pictures / Safran
At this annual celebration of innovation, Safran also showcased the various actions it has implemented to leverage innovation within the Group. Prior to the awards ceremony, Safran inaugurated its creativity space, dubbed Aerogarage, and the associated Booster for intrapreneurship. The Booster is an in-house accelerator, welcoming teams singled out by Safran's "We Love Intrapreneurs" initiative, designed to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among employees. This is a new method to identify and select innovative business and technical projects, conduct them in more agile fashion, and ultimately diversify Safran's business portfolio. In addition to creating value, this approach will foster a change in the corporate culture based on greater agility, encouraging people to take the initiative and business development, while also enriching Safran's human capital and developing its attractiveness.
Safran Corporate Ventures, the Group's corporate venture capital arm, and the Safran Open Innovation team took advantage of this occasion to present the startups in which Safran has acquired stakes, thus creating links with innovative small businesses offering opportunities for disruptive advances. The advantage of this investment setup is that Safran benefits from the creativity and agility of innovative startups.
"Let's keep on innovating, cooperating across companies and across borders, on the issues people are expecting us to tackle, to bring them the best products and services at the best cost.," said an enthusiastic Philippe Petitcolin, the Group's Chief Executive Officer in closing the 15th Safran Innovation Day.
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Safran Innovation Award winners
Operational Excellence and Competitiveness1: Digital Assistant
The Operational Excellence and Competitiveness Innovation prize went to Digital Assistant, a project led by Safran Nacelles and Safran SA.
This breakthrough automates repetitive tasks with little added value, for example including data transfer in information systems and data checks.
Service2: Predictive Maintenance
Predictive Maintenance, a project from Safran Nacelles, received this prize from Sandrine Holler, the Group Program Director sponsoring this category. This solution provides a range of services using data in customer airlines' Aircraft Condition Monitoring Systems (ACMSs). Its predictive algorithms supply customers with relevant insights including alerts on upcoming operations and the condition of their aircrafts' parts, to forestall failure and limit aircraft grounding.
Open Innovation3: PresSence
PresSence, by Safran Landing Systems and Safran Electronics & Defense, won this prize. It is a wireless solution that uses electronic sensors built into tires and was developed in partnership with Michelin. The information it gathers simplifies ground maintenance operations.
Product, Technology and Patent4: Blum
This category's sponsor, Michel Eymard (VP Technical Networks and R&D), handed the prize to Blum (short for Integrally Bladed Drum), a project from Safran Aero Boosters. Eric Massé, VP Engineering Safran Aircraft Engines, congratulated the teams that developed this new welding technique that cuts the number of parts in a conventional rotor booster from 300 to 1 while reducing the unit's overall mass, maintenance costs and more.
ADD+, another submission in this category, won the jury's special prize. This project, which involved redesigning a helicopter engine, helped to understand where exactly additive manufacturing will add value in tomorrow's powerplants.
Employee Experience5: eOUF
This category is new this year and rewards initiatives that benefit Group employees.
And the first prize in this category went to eOUF, an app by a team at Safran Electrical & Power. This smartphone app has various levels of access (user, administrator and action lead) and is used to report deviations and incidents in real-time by text message, with pictures or in voice messages. It also monitors action following the report on the anomaly until the requested measures are taken and the case is closed.
Field Innovation6: Rotating-part roughener
Employees voted for the rotating-part roughener, a breakthrough from a team at Safran Helicopter Engines! This pioneering and complex tool roughens the surface of a rotating part based on the user's requirements, with an abrasive belt that operates intermittently using a Geneva drive (a clockwork mechanism)—and keeps the operator safe.
1 The Operational Excellence and Competitiveness Prize rewards complete transformation in sites or business units, or in value-adding chains in a process, when that transformation has a strong impact on performance and can scale up to become a new Group standard.
2 The Service Prize rewards breakthroughs that contribute to enhancing the performance of an existing service in terms of profitability and/or customer satisfaction, or a new service that has proven feasible in a demonstrator with several Safran customers.
3 The Open Innovation Prize rewards groundbreaking solutions developed with one or more Safran suppliers or service providers. The new solution can relate to a product, service or production process. It must be operational in a project, study or demonstrator at the time of submission
4 The Product, Technology and Patent Prize rewards technical breakthroughs that give Safran an edge (and which are being offered to customers or merged into products or production processes) or innovations offering substantial business potential.a
5 The Employee Experience Prize rewards initiatives that are benefiting the Group's employees. The selection criteria include the solution's innovative features, potential for replicating it, international team involvement, impacts on health, safety, and the environment, and quality of life at work, Safran's appeal and its employees' feeling of belonging, as well as cooperation among employees.
6 The Field Innovation Prize rewards innovation set in motion by Safran employees. The selection criteria include the solution's impact on business, international team involvement, the extent to which the innovation emerged on the shop floor, its potential for Groupwide implementation, and its impact on health, safety, and the environment and/or ergonomics.
Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defense markets. Safran has a global presence, with more than 95,000 employees and sales of 21 billion euros in 2018. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of around 1.5 billion euros in 2018.
Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.