GE Open Innovation
International engineering and technology juggernaut GE has announced the winners of its 3D printing and aerospace open innovation challenges.
Flight Quest 2, the second installment of GE's Industrial Internet Flight Quest, and the 3D Printing Production Quest sought to find innovative solutions to real-world quandaries, taking into account major factors such as efficiency, cost and performance.
Through open innovation leaders Kaggle and NineSigma, the Quests tasked scientists, start-ups, big businesses and academics to use analytics and advanced manufacturing technologies to make efficiencies that could in turn improve the healthcare and aviation industries.
3D Printing Production Quest
The 3D Printing Production Quest set out to identify three fabricators with the capability to produce complex, precision medical imaging device parts that could drive greater product performance and quality, and be budget-friendly.
Three winners were selected based on the statistical analysis of their dimensional capability, as well as several qualitative aspects of their entries.
Participants representing research teams from academia, start-ups and established businesses from six countries competed in the Quest an attempt to investigate new uses for 3D printing technologies in the healthcare sector. The winners for this segment were; Martin Leuterer of EOS, Rob Snoeijs of LayerWise and Bernhard Tabernig, PLANSEE SE Innovation Services.
In partnership with NineSigma, the Quest challenged participants to use additive manufacturing to produce complex parts with high precision using refractory metals, a capability that could transform how components are manufactured for X-ray-based medical imaging systems such as mammography, cardiac catheterisation and computed tomography. As the global medical imaging market is expected to reach $35.35 billion (£21 billion, €25.5 billion) by 2019, GE believes additive manufacturing will enable new component designs that greatly simplify manufacturing and reduce cost, while improving image quality and diagnostic capability.
Refractory metals have high density allowing them to very effectively block X-rays without the environmental and health hazards associated with lead, and also have very high melting temperatures, up to 6,000°F (3,400°C). They are used in X-ray systems to control the path of the X-ray from the source through the patient's body and some components such as X-ray source tubes that take advantage of the high melting temperature.
Vice-President of Strategic Programs at NineSigma Denys Resnick said: "Through open innovation, we are able to uncover fresh perspectives from experts in new areas, accelerate the pace of innovation and transform industries, faster. This is the beauty of harnessing the power of a global network of connected innovators from across industries."
Flight Quest 2
Flight Quest 2 set out to help GE develop innovative solutions allowing airlines to determine the most effective flight route in real time, which could save aerospace some $3 billion annually.
In partnership with Kaggle and Alaska Airlines, GE challenged data scientists to develop prescriptive algorithms to increase flight efficiencies in real time, cutting delays and maximising a flight's profitability. The winning algorithms determined the most efficient routes taking into account speeds, altitudes and variables such as weather and airspace restraints. The top model proved itself 12 per cent more efficient when compared to data sets from real flights.
Using rapid prototyping to develop these algorithms, GE hopes to deliver fresh solutions that will give pilots and dispatchers a network-wide view of flight route variables, allowing airlines to recognise and adjust flight routes in real time. GE says that if each scheduled flight reduced the distance it flies by just ten miles, airlines could reduce annual fuel consumption by 360 million gallons, saving the industry over $3 billion annually.
Steve Liguori, Executive Director of Global Innovation at GE, said: "Harnessing the power of the crowd is essential to disrupting current processes and accelerating the pace of innovation. GE’s Quest program taps into the world’s greatest minds to create products that bring new values to our customers and speeds the time from mind to market."