Blockchain has yet again found its use in the aviation industry, this time courtesy of GE Aviation and Microsoft. The former is an aviation giant which supplies jet engines to about 60 percent of the global airline industry.
GE Aviation has buit a supply chain track and trace blockchain with the help of Microsoft Azure. David Havara, blockchain CTO, GE Aviation Digital Group said in a statement:
“Our vision is being able to trace parts as they are manufactured and the engine when it’s shipped. Then how that engine performs in the field, when to repair it and then re-enter it into the field.”
Not just for the company’s use, rather GE Aviation Digital Group plans to share the technology across an industry-wide consortium of partners. It will be built on the Ethereum blockchain. The technology will function as a mechanism of monitoring and collating data related to the production and life cycle of critical aircraft engine parts.
GE Aviation Digital Group is slightly different from GE Aviation itself. The former sells software externally to the industry, while the latter sells aircraft engines to commercial airlines and the military. This new technology that the group has come up with is being called ‘TRUEngine‘.
“If you think about it, a quality event in the aircraft engine industry is catastrophic. And to research that takes months of manual time. Driving efficiencies, accountability, and visibility into the process of making an engine will make us all safer.”
Microsoft’s contribution to this entire operation is crucial. The applied innovation and digital transformation team’s senior director, Mike Walker said that the technology has the effect of
“stitching together their entire supply chain into one view – so you’ve got a full understanding of all the partners; you’ve got one ecosystem repository instead of hundreds, if not thousands.”
Havara added that used parts are sold off again in the market, and they change hands quite frequently. However, the paper trail is too cumbersome to maintain and track: He said:
“Which is really a crisis in the industry at the moment. At our warehouse facility in Texas, there are tens of millions worth of dollars of inventory orphaned, because over the last 20 years we didn’t have a digital solution to get that paperwork to sell those parts back into the market.”
Walker of Microsoft added:
“So what we have done brings cost optimization and significant safety improvement, but now we are exposing a new business model. We are creating a profit center for what I lovingly referred to as ‘the boneyard’ in Texas, where essentially they put all these parts where they don’t have the GE Aviation genuine paperwork – and you can do that for all the other boneyards out there too.”
This new technology will be ready to be sold to buyers soon.