A unique collaboration between GE Aviation and Boston University aims to generate digital and manufacturing solutions for GE while exposing college students to real-world technology and industry experience.

The program, established in the fall of 2016 to stimulate creativity in the digitization space, challenged Boston University students to do a deep-dive into GE’s new Predix software and create an application that could be used on the shop floor. The app would allow front line leaders to be notified of machine maintenance issues early, reducing the risk of potential product losses.

The students were given access to Predix software and provided with an overview of GE’s Rutland, Vermont manufacturing facility. Students worked with BU computer science faculty and technical talent from GE Aviation and GE Digital. They conducted an analysis and then generated recommendations on the design of an app that could allow work stations to transmit data in real time enhancing Asset Performance Management (APM) functionality. They presented their proposal to a panel of GE representatives and BU faculty who endorsed its implementation.

Yiyuan Wang (Wynne), Cheng-en Yeh (Ken), John Cappadona (GE), Yukyu Chan (Terry), Yue Guo and Xiayu Zhang (Sarah)

The adoption of the GE-BU project would result in cost-reduction related to cycle time and manufacturing losses in addition to cost-avoidance. The students gained invaluable experience working on GE’s cutting edge digital-industrial software.

“As we progress into the digital-industrial era, it is great to have Boston University as a partner that is willing to work on connecting digital solutions with today’s manufacturing needs,” said Jorge Perez, Aviation’s digital and strategy leader. “It was impressive to see the speed at which the students could produce an Android application that utilized Predix.  We look forward to taking what they’ve developed and what we’ve learned to further our connection between digital and manufacturing.”

BU senior Terry Chan said on behalf of his team, “It has been a pleasure for us to work with GE this semester. We’ve learned so much during the process and we truly appreciate all the support and advice provided to us.”

The success of this collaboration has piqued the interest of GE Aviation’s Supply Chain; GE Digital and GE Black Belts are now working to develop a package (template charter, proposal, etc.) that will allow this initiative to potentially be replicated at other GE Aviation sites.

Cindy Hendrickson, GE Corporate university relations leader, commented, “Providing students with an opportunity to work on industry-specific initiatives while exposing them to GE products and people is a real win. This is another example of how we are deepening our relationship with a great school for the benefit of all.”

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