The Customer

GE Aviation is a global provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft.

The Challenge

The GE Coatings team simulates different flights in the lab by heating and cooling samples of the coated parts thousands of times. That testing process collects data points from multiple sensors every second throughout the tests. With most tests lasting months, this work yields tens of millions of data points. Before the DAC Solution, GE Aviation researchers used Excel, Matlab and Minitab software to collect and analyze test data, and email was the primary collaboration tool. These are manual, fragmented, and error-prone methods. Additionally, having data stored in multiple formats on various hard drives added too much time and complexity to its processes. GE Aviation needed a digital capability its team could use to collaborate, share and make decisions “in context” around the massive amount of data generated by the jet engine test rigs.

The Solution

The DAC, Predix-based Jet Engine Test Rig solution allowed the GE Aviation team to easily build its custom solution in a very short time. Using DAC’s simple app-building environment, the team was able to drag and drop “widgets” to quickly create apps with the required functionality and data.

The Jet Engine Test Rig solution provided the Coatings Development team with intuitive visualization and advanced analysis of the test data, and eliminated copying and pasting data from multiple Excel sheets into a Minitab file. With only a few hours of work, the GE engineering team automated these previously manual activities by designing a page in DAC. Statistical analysis of multiple tests instantly became far less cumbersome. By clicking on a particular test, the team members could drill down into detailed test data, while in-context social collaboration functionality makes communication and real-time decision-making — down to the level of the individual data cell — much easier.

Going far beyond the analysis and visualization of test data, the Jet Engine Test Rig solution has built-in functionality to easily set alerts, so GE can now detect, plan for, and fix problems before they happen. The application also includes the ability to expand beyond lab test data to connect to manufacturing data, engine operation data and hardware performance. Because DAC’s visual interface virtually eliminates coding, the app can be easily extended to include these additional data sources, without incurring lengthy development cycles.

The Results

For GE Aviation, the DAC Jet Engine Test Rig solution enables faster validation of new coating systems and shorter implementation timelines, which translates into earlier contract savings from the introduction of new coating solutions. With this initial implementation of the DAC solution alone, GE Aviation’s 15-person engineering team expects to save more than $200,000 annually in productivity increases and reduced repeat testing. For some coating introductions, this benefit could add up to tens of millions of dollars. With further development of the app and expanded use throughout the company, additional ROI in the next five years may include:

  • Productivity Savings: Up to 50% reduction in R&D time and costs as a result of streamlined data analysis, reduced repeat testing and improved team collaboration.
  • Technology Benefits: Analytics connecting coating processing with lab testing and engine performance could accelerate coating introduction by several years, yielding tens of millions of dollars in savings per coating/engine line.

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