Paris, June 20, 2012 - Safran is firmly convinced that innovation flows from the efforts of everybody who works in the Group, in all sectors and at all levels, and has therefore organized an annual Innovation Competition since 2005. Open to people at all Safran group companies, this friendly competition spotlights the creativity, initiative and dynamic energy of people throughout Safran.
The awards for 2012 will be officially announced today during the annual prizegiving ceremony at the Safran Aerospace Museum near Paris. Through this competition, Safran recognizes the multifaceted nature of innovation in the Group, from breakthrough inventions to innovation in the field. For the first time this year, the prize for "Innovation in the Field" will be awarded "live" by the audience, using electronic remotes to vote for their favorites from among a short list of nine candidates chosen by the Safran Grand July. Five other prizes will be awarded during the ceremony:
- Safran Grand Prize and Global Lean-Sigma Innovation Prize, in partnership with the industry trade magazine L’Usine Nouvelle: awarded to a Labinal team for the deployment of a production system based on Lean-Sigma principles at all production facilities. The heart of this new system is the continuous exchange of best practices and systematic sharing of results between teams from different countries and at distant locations. By systematically deploying these improvement actions, the system seeks to meet and exceed customer expectations in terms of quality, cost and on-time delivery, based on standardized working methods and processes.
- Product, Technology, Service Innovation Prize: awarded to a Snecma team for the deployment of a chemical surface treatment process that provides final balancing of titanium parts for engines (drum, disks). This method avoids a final machining step and investing in a dedicated machine tool. It saved some $2.5 million in capital investments.
- Special Jury Prize: awarded to a Morpho team that improved the security of ID documents by using the 3D Photo ID® technology. This solution enables engraving a 3-dimensional portrait on the polycarbonate used in passports, ID cards and driver licenses. It offers unrivaled quality, reliability and security, since the 3D Photo ID™ technology prevents the photos being altered in any way.
- Patented Innovation Prize: awarded to an Aircelle team for their development of an innovative forward frame on a thrust reverser structure. The forward frame is usually an assembly of composite and metallic parts. The innovative solution here was to make this complex part solely from a composite using the RTM (resin transfer molding) process. The team achieved a real technical tour de force, reducing production costs by about 30% and reducing weight by 15 to 30%.
- Customer Satisfaction Innovation Prize: awarded to a team from Herakles for their "Clean processing of pyrotechnic objects at end of life". To reduce the environmental impact of destroying these objects, the Herakles team deployed a biological method to treat propellant waste instead of the traditional burning method. The result was the total elimination of atmospheric releases of hydrochloric acid, an improved carbon footprint, and the elimination of more than 99.9% of the perchlorate.
Patent filings on the rise in 2011
Safran filed for 573 patents in 2011, ranking it second in France according to the list published by the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI, Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle). Safran moved up three spots in the rankings from 2010, increasing its patent filings by over 30%. This year Safran continues its patent leadership in the aerospace, defense and security markets.
A new organization to boost innovation
Safran revamped its organization in 2011 to adapt to the fast-changing economic, industrial and competitive environment, in particular creating a new Transformation division. The role of the Transformation division is to realize major breakthroughs, such as the introduction of carbon brakes on commercial aircraft in the 1990s. It is also tasked with facilitating cooperation on innovation between all Group companies.
Also reflecting this proactive commitment to innovation, in 2009 Safran created a Scientific Council, now chaired by well-known French physicist Mathias Fink. The results of the work carried out by the Scientific Council are used by the R&T division, as well as experts working in the field.
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 close to 60,000 employees and generated sales of 11.7 billion euros in 2011. 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 1.3 billion euros in 2011. Safran is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index.