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Microsoft and GE Aviation Apply Blockchain to Track Supply Chains in Aviation

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by Julia Sakovich · 3 min read
Microsoft and GE Aviation Apply Blockchain to Track Supply Chains in Aviation
Photo: GE Aviation / Instagram

GE Aviation in collaboration with Microsoft offers a supply chain track and trace blockchain to strengthen the aviation industry.

Nowadays it may seem that blockchain has already penetrated all the industries and spheres of our life. And this thesis is not far from reality. Now blockchain has even reached the sphere of aviation where it has recently found its new use which has become possible thanks to the collaboration of GE Aviation and Microsoft.

Blockchain in Aviation

GE Aviation, which is a supplier of jet engines and serves about 60 percent of the global airline industry, has created an Ethereum-based supply chain track-and-trace blockchain with the help of Microsoft Azure. 

The company doesn’t want to limit the use of its blockchain to their own needs and plans to make its blockchain available for an industry-wide consortium of partners. The technology will perform a function of monitoring and collating data related to the manufacturing process and the entire life cycle of critical engine parts of aircraft.

Speaking about their new project, David Havera, blockchain CTO of the GE Aviation Digital Group, said:

“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.”

It’s worth mentioning that GE Aviation and GE Aviation Digital Group are different business units. While GE Aviation offers aircraft engines to various airlines and military bodies, GE Aviation Digital Group, which has over 700 employees worldwide, sells software to other companies within the industry. The group works not only with blockchain but with such technologies as 3D printing, IoT and data science.

The new technology that the group offers is called TRUEngine. With the help of blockchain, it will be possible to structure data within the ecosystem in a single format and to streamline a number of processes.

“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,” explained Havera.

The contribution made by Microsoft is really crucial. According to Mike Walker, the senior director of applied innovation and digital transformation at Microsoft, the technology is aimed at “stitching together the 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.”

He also added that it will bring to the industry significant cost optimization and safety improvement.

It is also said that the technology is ready to be sold to customers, nevertheless, the pricing model for the service has not been determined yet.

Blockchain in Metals Industry

Let us also remind you that it was not the first example of using the potential of blockchain for tracking supply chains. For example, earlier this year Coinspeaker has reported that Ford Motor Company established collaboration with Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem, and RCS Global with a view to ensuring the ethical and responsible sourcing of industrially-mined cobalt.

To achieve this goal it was decided to use the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform for tracking supply chains for the metals industry and proving that minerals are sourced without human rights violations.

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