General Electric: airplane motors maintenance takes off to the cloud

With Lalit Khandelwal,
GE Business Unit Head at Capgemini

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General Electric: airplane motors maintenance takes off to the cloud

General Electric is increasingly turning to IoT and predictive maintenance to boost plant productivity, reduce costs and improve product performance. One example is the revolutionary data exchange system developed for the aerospace industry with Capgemini’s support.

A major technological transformation

“Configuration data exchange” is a broad technical term covering all aspects of technological transformation currently changing the face of the industry. The central idea is exchanging data in real time between various technical systems to boost efficiency and productivity. This is what General Electric Aviation, the group’s aeronautical branch, recently accomplished for its aircraft engine maintenance with Capgemini.

Connectivity is the backbone of GE’s growth strategy. For instance, we are currently working on applications for monitoring the performance of wind turbines remotely.Lalit Khandelwal

Lalit Khandelwal
GE Business Unit Head at Capgemini

GE, a digital forerunner

The American company has been interested in digital technologies for a long time: “More than 20 years, through its partnership with Igate, and later with Capgemini,” specifies Lalit Khandelwal, Head of the General Electric Business Unit  with Capgemini. “At first, our collaboration focused largely on IT projects for GE Aviation. But the scope quickly spread to all of the company’s activities and service lines. Capgemini became a strategic partner for General Electric, taking widespread action to support its automation and innovation goals.” In 2016, Capgemini and GE Digital, the conglomerate’s digital innovation division, worked together on a new configuration data exchange system. The main objective was to reduce engine maintenance costs across the entire aerospace industry.

Real innovation is knowing how and what to automate in order to optimize costs and turnaround times.
Lalit Khandelwal

Lowering costs with the cloud

For GE, there was obviously room for improvement when it came to processing engine maintenance data in the aerospace industry. “Maintenance and engineering systems were scattered across the industry, and still relied heavily on millions of paper and PDF documents. That led to data loss and even diagnostic discrepancies—clearly obstacles to reducing costs,” says Khandelwal. General Electric came up with the idea of using a common cloud-based platform called Predix to enable maintenance data exchange between all parties.

$4 billion
anticipated savings across the sector thanks to configuration data exchange

To start the process, sensors installed on the engines record information relating to behavior and maintenance operations. The truly innovative feature comes next: “It involves a common ecosystem to boost maintenance operations efficiency. The system acts like a data pipeline that circulates continuously between engine manufacturers, airlines and parts dealers. Each company can access the same information at the same time, including a full repair history,” explains Khandelwal. The result was overwhelming. Maintenance times and costs were dramatically reduced, and the data obtained became much more reliable. “This model will most likely take over the entire industry, transforming relations between aircraft manufacturers and aircraft parts manufacturers,” concludes Khandelwal.

projects currently underway with General Electric
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