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Contest Number:
IC_2018_0122

About the Challenge

General Electric invites proposals for technologies, processes or methods to ensure that B-nut fitting assemblies are properly assembled and leak-proof.

GE Aviation, a world-leading provider of commercial, military and business and general aviation jet and turboprop engines and components as well as avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for aircraft. It also provides aftermarket services to support its products.

A key objective for the organization to deliver a continually-growing installed bases of jet engines is to ensure that the approaches used to properly assemble components are efficient and effective.

Aircraft production is particularly complex and demanding. After production, every item is individually inspected to ensure compliance with quality standards, such as ensuring b-nut connections are leakproof. Skilled and careful assembly of these inspected components result in safe and reliable aircraft.

GE aims to provide its aviation customers with the most technologically advanced and productive engines, systems and services for their success—and believes its ability to leverage innovative approaches for assembly ensurance will further improve manufacturing efficiency.

For additional information, please consult the Challenge Summary.

Award

Up to three initial cash prizes (of $10,000 USD each) and a discretionary pool of development funds (of up to $50,000 USD) will be awarded by GE as described below:

Up to three (3) respondents will receive an initial cash prize of $10,000 USD each.

Initial cash prize winners will be eligible to receive additional funding for a six (6) month period (from a total prize pool of up to $50,000 USD) (“Development Award”) to continue further development and/or commercialization of winner’s Entry technology, provided winner enters into the Development Funding Business Relationship with Prize Sponsor including an agreed upon plan for guided funding. Upon completion of the six (6)-month funding period, Prize Sponsor may, at its own discretion and based on the merits of the proposed technology, explore further funding and/or business arrangements.

Additional Developmental Funding:

Allocation of the additional development funding from the discretionary development pool of up to $50,000 USD will be determined based upon, but not limited to, the following considerations: level of commercial readiness, nature of the technology, and experience and expertise.

An agreed upon plan to guide the development funding will be required. The agreed upon guided funding plan will need to define scope, co-development/commercialization objectives, co-development relationship, timeline and deliverables for the six (6)-month funding period, and will also require submission of a final report at the conclusion of the funding period. This final report must summarize results, compare outcomes to the initial proposed results, and, ideally, show proof of concept.

Upon completion of the 6 month funding period, Prize Sponsors may, at their own discretion and based on the merits of the proposed technology, explore funding further development and/or commercialization and/or purchase or licensing of the winning technology.

Timeline

Success Criteria

Entry Requirements
The successful technology or solution must (BUT SHOULD NOT DISCLOSE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION):

  • Provide confirmation that a b-nut assembly is assembled properly,
    • At time of assembly and at any time after initial assembly,
    • Preferably, offer visual confirmation,
    • Show that assembly will still function through multiple tightening cycles of the fastener,
    • Approach may include a system-level solution (i.e. method or process to test that an entire fluid circuit does not leak);
  • Be easy to use;
  • Be effective in tight spaces and for various sizes of fittings (reference background material here);
  • Be repeatable and reliable;
  • Have a clear path for deployment in a manufacturing setting;
  • Be cost effective for widescale deployment; and,
  • Preferably, not require component design changes which would require re-certification of the aircraft engine design
    • Preferably, not be a solution that will change b-nut hardware.

Evaluation Criteria
Your solution will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Greater ease of use;
  • Proof of effectiveness (or evidence that the solution could be effective),
    • e.g. No false negatives or positives;
  • Quicker time to industrialization,
    • e.g. How quickly could your solution become standard operating practice or be commercialized;
  • Greater ease of deployment (able to implement in many locations); and,
  • Greater portability (to go with an individual who is moving around).

 

Submissions

You must complete and submit the online response form no later than September 13, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT. You will be able to upload supplemental documents with your response.

Your non-confidential response must:

  • Describe your approach and its working principle;
    • Discuss freedom to practice (or ability to pursue commercialization and testing with Sponsor),
  • Describe the pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture;
  • Estimate unit cost of technology (if available);
  • Describe your (or your team’s) background and related experience in commercializing new technology;
  • [Optional] Provide a private link to a short (2-5 minute) video presentation in which you pitch your approach and capabilities; and,
  • Include supporting documents (illustrations, performance data, etc.; limit of 3, max of 10 MB).

If you require assistance to submit your response, please contact the Solution Provider Help Desk (phd@ninesigma.com).

Potential technologies

Challenge Moderator
  • Senior Program Manager
  • NineSigma

Welcome to the GE Aviation Assemblies Innovation Challenge! We look forward to receiving your response!

Meet the GE Aviation Sponsors
  • Senior Manufacturing Engineering Staff Manager
  • GE Aviation
  • Senior Manufacturing Staff Manager
  • GE Aviation
  • Senior Brand Strategy Leader, GE GENIUSLINK
  • GE Aviation
Contact our Help Desk

If you have questions about this Challenge or need additional information or assistance, please contact phd@ninesigma.com

Background

B-nut assemblies are critical components of pressurized fluid and gas plumbing systems on aircraft engines. A b-nut assembly consists of tubing with a flared end that mates to a cone or ball shape on a threaded fitting, held together by a threaded b-nut. Proper and complete assembly ensures connections are leakproof and promotes efficient engine throughput at test.

A jet engine may have several hundred pressure connections that use b-nuts, often in layers of sub-assemblies. It is important to know that every b-nut assembly is proper because finding and fixing a leaking fitting buried in layers of other components is difficult and time-consuming.

Learn more about the b-nut, materials, triple torque process and more (here).

GE Aviation Assemblies Challenge - Summary

GE Aviation Assemblies Challenge - Official Rules

GE Aviation Assemblies Challenge - Supplemental Data

GE Aviation Assemblies Challenge - Webinar Transcript