Heavy R&T investment leads to innovative technologies
As a high-tech company, Safran invests considerable resources in research & technology in order to meet changing requirements of customers and society at large. Safran maintains constant innovation through this investment, coupled with a large number of strategic partnerships with research institutions and universities.
Research and technology: the drivers of Safran's success
Strategic research is essential to the future success of a high-tech group like Safran. In the US, Safran invests considerable financial and human resources in research and technology to foster innovation. Research objectives are defined consistent with Group strategy and the requirements of customers and society at large. The increased costs of aviation fuel and critical natural resources help shape Safran R&T projects, which in turn allow commercial airlines to meet their economic and environmental challenges. Safran innovations are managed through more than 26,000 patents held worldwide, encouraging competition and strengthening partnerships with the scientific community and industry.
- 12% of annual revenue (US$2.5 billion in 2013) invested annually in R&T (71% self-financed)
- 20% of workforce engaged in R&T (including 450 doctoral scientists and 150 doctoral students)*
Partners in innovation: mastering a multi-disciplinary approach
To nurture innovation, Safran is open to all types of partnerships, spanning public research institutes, academia and industry. These partnerships have several advantages:
- They foster the creation of multidisciplinary teams, both inside and outside the company. The cross-disciplinary approach can be highly rewarding, and often surprising. For example, university studies on the formation of mother-of-pearl in shellfish helped with new concepts for self-healing composite materials for aircraft engines.
- Engineers and scientists are able to work more closely together to find solutions to shared problems, by putting engineers on campus or even establishing university labs in the heart of Safran plants.
- The close ties Safran maintains with universities helps the Group attract the top talent necessary to maintain a competitive edge.
High value-added technologies
Whether for defense and security equipment, engines or aircraft equipment, Safran products are based on high value-added technologies:
- In the field of biometrics, Morpho's research team of scientists and engineers work on algorithm development, cryptology, construction of pilot systems and other advanced technologies. They have recently developed a system capable of recognizing fingerprints with a single wave of the hand, in less than one second, called Finger on the Fly®.
- Safran is contributing to an aircraft energy revolution in which traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems are being gradually replaced by electrically-driven systems. Electric systems are not only more reliable, but lead to significant weight reduction, thereby reducing fuel consumption.
- Composite materials, like carbon or ceramic composites, are also part of more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft. Composite materials are lighter and stronger than metals, and new uses for them on aircraft equipment and engines are continually discovered. For example, Safran designed struts for the landing system of the Boeing 787 made of a woven carbon composite material. The complex structure of composites provides enhanced resistance to heavy loads.