The Innovation Award was set up in 2004 with the aim of bringing to light innovative ideas and projects relating to the various business areas in which the Group is involved. In Finmeccanica, innovation and individual talent are considered important competitive factors in the high technology sector. This is why, every year, the Innovation Award offers visibility and recognition for each Group employee able to propose solutions that can translate into actual industrial applications and improve company performance.
Over the years the Award has produced tangible, measurable results. The proposals presented at various times have been transformed into new, efficient applications, used to develop successful products and processes. The initiative has seen growing participation, and the eight editions held so far has involved a total of over 19,000 people, with approximately 6,500 proposals in all.
Among the 1,011 projects presented during the 2011 edition, of which only 15 reached the final and were assessed by an international examining committee, the 2011 Innovation Awards have been assigned to the following projects:
“Compact Receiver” by Finmeccanica, MBDA, SELEX Galileo, SELEX Sistemi Integrati and Thales Alenia Space. This is a compact, state-of-the-art, high dynamics digital receiver for radar, communication systems and missile seeker systems. The device has been created thanks to the work of a team of technicians from four of the Group companies, who worked together very efficiently, for the first time, on a common project launched as part of Mindsh[.]re, the Finmeccanica operation that aims to create an interconnected network of co-operation involving people and companies in the Group, technological partners, universities and research centres.
“uIDCA Infrared Imaging System” by DRS Technologies.An integrated infra-red sensor with an extremely reduced size and low power absorption. The equipment is based on a new concept cryogenerator that, when integrated with a third generation Focal Plane Array, produces an extremely competitive IR sensor suitable for many uses, so as to conquer new market segments even outside the defence and security area.
“G-SAE” by Ansaldo STS.A device that, using satellite signals, enables the position of a train to be defined with an accuracy such that it can replace the devices installed along the railway line. This positioning precision is achieved by reception from satellites in a number of constellations (GPS, GLONASS and, in the future, Galileo). It represents a highly innovative solution, that may cause a revolution in the railway signalling market.
During the ceremony the following awards were also assigned:
“Finmeccanica Group Patent of the Year” to Ansaldo Energia for “ Ventilated rotor of high power turbogenerator for production of electricity” . This is a fluid gas cooling system, generally using air or hydrogen, for the rotor of a high power turbogenerator used to produce electricity. Patented in Europe and the United States, tested in numerous applications, it allows the efficiency of the generator to be brought up to excellent levels, significantly increasing the value and thus the competitivity of this Ansaldo Energia product.
“Special Mention” to SELEX Galileo for “ New missions for Falco and PicoSAR in the environmental field”. This is a surveillance system based on a tactical unmanned aircraft, fitted withboth a radar sensor and an infra-red sensor. This makes it possible to obtain from a single mission the information from two sensors, which co-operate to provide a more complete image of the terrain. The system is well suited to dual applications, and experiments with environmental aims have already commenced.
“Best Supplier 2011” to Rockwell Collins, presented by Agusta Westland. The choice of Rockwell Collins as best supplier of Finmeccanica companies rewards the high level of support, both in terms of “Know-How” and in terms of the supply of equipment, which has been provided for AgustaWestland in a timely, proactive way, during development of innovative “Man-Machine” interface systems using “Touch Screen” technology. This co-operation, which started during the development phase and will continue throughout the working life of the new helicopters, allows AgustaWestland to make changes to the application S/W in an independent manner, giving considerable flexibility to satisfy the requests of individual customers and thus increasing customer satisfaction and competitive advantage on the markets. The co-operation between Rockwell Collins and Sirio Panel in “Touch Screen” systems has also been considered significant, contributing towards expansion of the “Know-How” and product catalogue of Finmeccanica companies.