Students proposed new tech for helicopters during annual Helibras competition
During the annual running of the Helibras Challenge, a competition held in Brazil by Airbus Brazilian subsidiary Helibras in partnership with Unifei, students were encouraged by the manufacturer to come up with new Helicopter Tech solutions that would benefit the helicopter industry. The winning idea selected as an effective solution was presented by French students from the Federal University of Itajubá.
The proposal by the students presented a new material for shielding that tends to offer a wider and more sturdy protection with less weight added to the aircraft, ultimately selected as the winner, due to its innovative and potentially positive impact to the industry. The annual competition is held between students from the Federal University Itajubá and exchange students of CNAM, the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, France.
The competition, based on the concept of Open Innovation, is organized by the Innovation sector Helibras, choosing topics related to production or engineering in the aviation industry. Students then propose technological solutions to issues within the helicopter industry. In 2016, the competition topic centered on armored military helicopters.
The competition, comprising of a number of requirements is geared towards real world application, focusing on the ideal of students working their project from an idea, to design and development and on to a real market innovation. Each idea for the competition starts as a class discussion and becomes a project eventuating into the competition entry. Students are supported by Brazilian teachers Engineering courses of the Federal University of Itajubá.
Innovation analyst at Helibras, Fernanda Salomon, said the concept of Open Innovation brings benefits to the entire chain involved. “Through the competition, Helibras strengthens its relationship with partner universities and allows the development of students based on industry demands, while the industry has access to concepts and projects beyond its borders,” he says.
First discussed in 2003, the competition idea had few supporters in Brazil. Helibras has since used their methodology to assist design ideas using the competition since 2014 to further innovate. The Helibras Challenge is now in its third year.