As part of this continuous improvement approach, Safran organizes an annual competition allowing all employees to submit their latest inventions. Through these awards, Safran spotlights its full spectrum of innovation, along with the creativity, initiative and dynamism of its people. For the first time this year, the competition was open to Safran’s suppliers.
The prizewinners for 2013 were unveiled during the annual awards ceremony at the Safran Aerospace Museum in Villaroche, near Paris. The awards this year included:
• Safran Grand Prize and Product & Technology Innovation Award to Aircelle, for its O-duct thrust reverser demonstrator, dubbed "Panache". This innovative design helps reduce fuel consumption and improve the overall performance of the propulsion system. Its single-piece composite structure in the form of an "O" (as opposed to the traditional "D duct") improves airflows within the engine and facilitates maintenance. The simplified design and elimination of multiple interfaces generates significant weight savings.
• Special Jury Prize, awarded in partnership with the magazine L’Usine Nouvelle, recognized the FADEC bracket made of composite materials based on HexMC™ technology, developed by Safran Composites and supplier Hexcel. Comprising an array of carbon-fiber strips, it reduces the bracket weight by 75% compared with the metal equivalent. HexMC™ technology can be used to make composite parts with complex shapes and also produce them in volume. This innovation could be used on many other applications within the Group, especially on nacelles and landing gear.
• Customer Satisfaction Innovation Award to Aircelle, in partnership with Rolls-Royce, for their innovative service approach. For the first time, the nacelle and engine manufacturer teamed up to offer a comprehensive 24/7 support contract to the customer British Airways for a period of 25 years. The contract encompasses dedicated assistance services, preventive maintenance, real-time servicing, and the availability of major nacelle parts directly at Heathrow airport in London.
• Patented Innovation Award to Turbomeca, for a concept that involves fitting a helicopter with two engines of different power ratings (a larger one used during cruise, and a smaller one during search phases), rather than the traditional layout of two of the same engines operating simultaneously. The two engines are capable of being restarted in flight in less than five seconds. This innovation offers a significant reduction in fuel consumption, of 10% to 15%.
• The Lean-Sigma Innovation Award was a tie between two projects that both increased productivity and quality:
• Turbomeca and supplier Alcoa Fastening Systems: a project to significantly improve quality, cost and lead-time performance on a helicopter turbine bracket. Their project allowed them to identify the root factors leading to abnormally high scrap rates and frequent machine breakages.
• Messier-Bugatti-Dowty: development of a new utility cart to handle heavy and bulky equipment and move it between workstations, while also functioning as a container for the Kanban process, used for the assembly of the Airbus A380 braking system. The introduction of these carts enhanced production flows, improved working conditions and optimized inventory management.
Patents filed in 2012
According to the recently published ranking by the INPI, France’s National Institute of Intellectual Property, Safran ranked third in France in 2012, with 556 patents published. It remains the leader in the aerospace, defense and security sectors.
All-out commitment to innovation
Safran invests about 12% of total sales in R&D to meet the economic imperatives of its customers, while also satisfying increasingly demanding environmental requirements. Safran continued to innovate this year, and also joined the trade association Innov’Acteurs, providing an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences with other major industrial enterprises, enrich its capabilities and develop its expertise. Since 2004, this association has organized the annual Participative Innovation Awards, recognizing the companies and organizations that have distinguished themselves because of their approach, results and commitment to innovation. On November 29, 2012, the Fougères plant of Group company Sagem won the "Continuous Improvement Senior" award for the maturity of its approach, which has been deployed for over 15 years.
Safran (safran-group.com) is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Group has 62,500 employees and generated sales of 13.6 billion euros in 2012. 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 1.6 billion Euros in 2012. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index.
Safran Communications department
2, bd du Général Martial Valin
75724 Paris Cedex 15 France
Press contact: Caroline COUDERT
T: +33(0)1 40 60 82 20 - E: caroline.coudert[.]safran.fr.