Innovation Challenges

Challenge Owner(s)
Airbus, Bell Textron, GE Aerospace, Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific), RTX, Singapore Component Solutions, ST Engineering
Enterprise Singapore, JTC Corporation
Industry Type(s)
Air Transport, Circular Economy & Sustainability, Digital/ICT, Precision Engineering, Sustainable Energy
Opportunities and Support Funding support, mentorship, co-development and pilot opportunities, and marketing features!
Application Start Date 21 February 2024
Application End Date 29 April 2024
Website Click here to learn more

About Challenge

Jointly organised by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and JTC Corporation (JTC), we invite all startups and SMEs to embark on a transformative journey in addressing the innovation needs of the aerospace industry.

Partnering leading corporates in the aerospace industry, the inaugural AOIC provides a platform for startups and SMEs to trial and scale your solutions for validated use cases. Gain access to cutting-edge facilities, forge collaborations with key industry players, and stand a chance to secure funding support for co-development and pilots.

Together, let's shape a more sustainable and productive future for aerospace in Singapore.

Challenge Owner(s)Airbus
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Infrastructure, Precision Engineering, Urban Solutions

How Might We Develop an Autonomous Loading and Unloading Solution for Aircraft Baggage/Cargo?

The current process of loading and unloading of baggage/cargo from the aircraft stand into an aircraft is done manually through a series of laborious steps. For single-aisle aircraft cargo holds, standard containers are not mandatory and baggage and cargo are loaded individually (also known as bulk loading). With increasing air travel demand coupled with labour shortage in major airports, we are keen to look for novel solutions to increase the efficiency of loading/unloading of baggage/cargo into the aircraft.

Presently, 3-4 full-time employees are typically involved in the baggage and cargo loading/unloading process, i.e. 1-2 FTE would load and operate the baggage belt while another 1-2 FTE would be in the aircraft cargo hold, loading/unloading and securing the baggage/cargo.

The current process for loading of baggage/cargo is as follows:

  1. Passengers’ baggage goes through security checks;
  2. The baggage/cargo reaches airside and ground handling staff loads the baggage/cargo to the corresponding carts;
  3. The baggage/cargo carts are then transported by a driver to the corresponding aircraft;
  4. A belt loader places a bridge between the aircraft cargo door and cart to enable the loading of luggage/cargo into the aircraft;
  5. Ground handling staff then transfers and secures the baggage/cargo in the aircraft using nets to secure the load.

For our challenge statement, our priority aircraft types would be the Airbus A320 and A220 family, but we believe similar challenges exist for other industry players.

What We Are Looking For

We are keen to explore solutions that focus on the final loading stages (i.e. from foot of the aircraft to aircraft cargo hold). To be clear, the challenge scope is not about transporting baggage/cargo from airport storage to the aircraft location, but to enable the automation of loading, arranging, and securing the baggage inside the cargo hold. To do so, it might require consideration of the preloading phase in the terminal loading area. We are looking beyond pure robotic solutions at the terminal or automated guided vehicle-based solutions for moving baggage/cargo from ground transportation to the airside baggage belt.

We expect the following benefits if the solution is successfully developed:

  • Improved worker safety, particularly within the aircraft where workers often operate in constrained spaces.
  • Enhanced efficiency for baggage/cargo loading/unloading, reducing turnaround time and operational costs.
  • Potential savings, as every minute of delay incurs a significant financial impact.

Finally, we encourage solution providers to consider novel business models such as potential shared utilisation of the solution across various clients to maximise adoption. Airbus is willing to support such business models.

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Challenge Owner(s)Bell Textron
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Digital/ICT

How Might We Develop an End-To-End System to Automate the Work Card Generation Process for Our Daily Operations?

At Bell Textron, the process of generating Work Cards for our daily operations is currently very laborious and manual. Specifically, our current work-flow for Work Card Generation is as follows: 

  1. The planner reads the aeroplane maintenance manual; 
  2. The planner then transcribes what is read onto an Excel sheet;
  3. Selected information from the Excel sheet is then manually entered into a work card for our engineers’ and technicians’ use.

The number of Work Cards that are being generated per project can range from 80 to 200. Currently, we have 1 full-time employee & 1 contract staff involved in the process of information processing, verification and work card generation.

What We Are Looking For

We are keen to invite solution providers to come up with novel solutions to utilise technologies such as language processing, Large Language Models and Artificial Intelligence to streamline our maintenance planning process. By leveraging advanced learning algorithms, we can optimise the creation of Work Cards, ensuring they are tailored to specific aircraft requirements. This can help to reduce manual effort, improve accuracy, and enhance overall maintenance efficiency.

To the best of our knowledge, no solution exists in the market today to optimise work card generation and we believe this is an industry-wide problem to solve. 

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Challenge Owner(s)Bell Textron
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Digital/ICT

How Might We Build An Intelligent And Predictive Compliance Management System?

As part of Bell Textron’s ongoing maintenance management, we are faced with regulatory requirements to continuously monitor and assess the applicability of public reports, directives and bulletins such as Airworthiness Directives (ADs) and Service Bulletins (SBs). ASB’s, AD’s and SB’s are published by external parties, e.g. government on an ongoing basis.

Our current process to assess the relevancy of ASBs, ADs, SBs and other reports with ongoing operations is as follows:

  1. Technical staff subscribes to various authorities, companies to manually collect ASBs, ADs, SBs through email and by regulator visiting the right databases and websites;
  2. The ASBs, ADs, SBs are reviewed in detail for relevancy;
  3. Relevant information is processed and added to our maintenance Work Cards;
  4. We will then ask our clients if they wish to comply with the provided directives.

On a weekly basis, approximately 10 email prompts with novel reports are received. Additionally, information has to be retrieved from public databases every week. Compliance with relevant reports and directives is of utmost importance as failure in doing so may result in flight safety and reputational damage.

What We Are Looking For

We are looking to work with novel solution providers to build and implement solutions based on language processing, Large Language Models (LLM’s) and Artificial Intelligence. We believe that the right solution should be able to directly compare relevant reports against our current operation status on an ongoing basis, and enhance our compliance management.

The solution should be able to efficiently track the implementation status of ASBs, ADs, SBs and other relevant reports to identify gaps and provide real-time insights. This not only ensures regulatory compliance but also allows proactive decision-making in maintenance planning.

To the best of our knowledge, no solution exists in the market today to improve our compliance process by reading, processing and providing insights on ASBs, ADs, SBs and we believe this is an industry-wide problem to solve.

Challenge Owner(s)GE Aerospace
Industry Types(s)
Circular Economy & Sustainability, Energy & Chemicals, Infrastructure, Precision Engineering

How Might We Recover Waste Heat From Our Electric Furnace Operations To Enhance Energy Efficiency?

For GE Aerospace, our plants are equipped with around 50 electric furnaces which account for about 30% of our energy consumption. We believe there is an opportunity to recover waste heat from our furnaces (operating temperature up to 2100oC) that would otherwise be released to the environment.

The process of heating and cooling of furnaces consists of: (1) creating a vacuum environment, (2) heating up the furnace, (3) cooling down the furnace. We estimate that this process consumes about 600 - 1000 kWh, which is consistent across different sites.

Currently, we operate two types of furnaces:

  1. Vacuum furnace
    1. Waste heat is routed to a cooling tower and removed through a closed-loop liquid cooling system.
  2. Atmosphere furnace
    1. Waste heat is conducted to the surrounding air and dissipated to the environment via blowers.

What We Are Looking For

We are looking for solutions that can capture the waste heat at its sources (i.e. atmospheric furnaces, vacuum furnaces or both) for useful applications. We are also open to exploring innovative business models with solutions providers. 

Challenge Owner(s)Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific)
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Circular Economy & Sustainability, Energy & Chemicals, Sustainable Energy

How Might We Find Novel Ways To Recycle Jet Fuel That Is Drained From Aircrafts To Produce Affordable Blended Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)?

Commercial aircraft are required to carry a minimum amount of fuel for all phases of flight. For performance maintenance, all fuel needs to be drained. Currently, the drained fuel is stored in IBC containers before being collected by a waste collector. The fuel is degraded to produce furnace fuel which is sold to power plants ( ~3 cents per liter).

What We Are Looking For

We are seeking solution providers to provide solutions to treat the waste fuel into reusable blended SAF. Solution providers should consider the following information:

  • To produce blended SAF, the fuel needs to be decontaminated as there is a 100% decontamination due to interaction with water.
  • Average amount of waste fuel is 10 IBC per week.
  • Fuel would need to be tested and certified according to internationally approved standards.
  • The quality and composition of the waste fuel is relatively stable which might allow for implementation across maintenance hangers.
  • The SAF product can be sold to Jet Aviation (or other aviation clients), and suitable business models can be proposed by solution providers.

We are open to working with solution providers for an end-to-end solution, including waste fuel collection and treatment.

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Challenge Owner(s)Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific)
Industry Types(s)Electronics

How Might We Find A Solution For Bird Infestation In Our Hangars?

Jet Aviation has 6 hangers in Singapore and one key issue we face is bird infestation. The situation is exacerbated in the rainy season when birds (mostly crows) tend to nest in our hangers. This leads to the following practical issue:

  • Additional aircraft maintenance cost for cleaning and repaint works due to birds’ droppings.
  • Potential smell, health and safety issues for technicians and engineers.

We have previously experimented with a few solutions including:

  • Nets and spikes (which were ineffective).
  • Chemical gels.
  • Reflective mirrors.

What We Are Looking For

We are open for solution providers to propose any types of solutions including (but not limited to):

  • Use of laser lights.
  • Drone-based solutions.
  • Sonic solutions.

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Challenge Owner(s)RTX
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Digital/ICT

How Might We Develop A Real-Time Maintenance, Repair And Overhaul (MRO) Predictive Production Planning System That Can Analyse, Prioritise And Predict Our MRO Schedules??

For Collins Aerospace, MRO is core to our business, and our day-to-day operations involve predicting and prioritisation of MRO jobs by considering factors such as manpower, material and equipment availability. Today, a digital dashboard displays some of this key information, but work scheduling and prioritisation are based on operators’ heuristics and experiences. We estimate that 3 FTE employees are assigned daily to actively manage and plan MRO jobs.

What We Are Looking For

We are keen to invite solution providers to develop novel solutions to analyse, prioritise and predict our MRO schedule. More specifically, we are looking for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system that can ingest and process our data in real-time and optimise our MRO schedules. To develop and train the AI solution, we will be able to provide multi-year data that is cleaned and standardised.

This would be our first full-fledged attempt to build an AI-based solution to help us manage our MRO operations. We are aware of existing ERP scheduling systems but those systems are not practical for MRO as our MRO processes involve many variables that change on a daily basis.

Challenge Owner(s)RTX
Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Electronics, Precision Engineering, Urban Solutions

How Might We Build A Fully Automated Robotic Sanding Solution That Can Deal With Contoured Surfaces With Pinpoint Precision To Support Our Aerospace MRO Operations?

For Collins Aerospace, MRO is core to our business. One of the key MRO processes involves sanding of elements and components for the removal of paints or composite laminates. Currently, sanding is done manually and may be inefficient, as it can require reworks at times. On average, we have about two rework cases per year costing roughly S$20,000 per failure. Today, one FTE employee would take about 6 hours to fully sand a part or component. On an annual basis, this takes up about 3,000 man-hours for 500 parts/components.

What We Are Looking For

Collins Aerospace is inviting solution providers to develop novel ways to fully automate our sanding process through an automated robotics-based solution.

To elaborate, our sanding falls into two categories (each with its own distinct challenges):

  1. Paint removal
    • Paint removal sanding solutions need to be very precise as we can only remove 0.02 inches of paint. 
    • It might be possible to use a visual AI system to detect color changes for paint removal, though the efficiency may be compromised due to dust particles. 
  2. Composite laminate removal
    • Composite laminate removal sanding solutions need to be highly accurate and precise. Laminates typically consist of multiple layers and we only wish to remove the top layer. For every layer of laminate, we can only sand off a maximum of 0.008 inch per step. 
    • For laminate removal, we cannot use a visual AI system to detect color changes, and a different detection method has to be used.

For both (1) and (2), there must be a feedback loop that allows the solution to calibrate its sanding depth in real-time according to the varying thickness and changing surface contours during the sanding process.

Collins Aerospace has previously conducted two POCs to tackle this problem.

  1. The first POC was a fully functioning robotic arm that was successfully implemented to position the sanding tool. However, sanding was not done with sufficient accuracy and we currently use this robot only for inspection.
  2. Another POC was conducted in the AI / Computer Vision area to detect color contrasts. Studies have shown that it is possible to conduct color contrast but is limited only to a flat surface. A POC would still have to be conducted to deal with contoured surfaces at an industrial scale.

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Challenge Owner(s)Singapore Component Solutions
Industry Types(s)
Circular Economy & Sustainability, Energy & Chemicals, Precision Engineering

How Might We Improve The Way We Segregate, Manage And Dispose Waste?

We produce significant amounts and types of waste as part of our regular equipment repair operations. We believe there are opportunities to improve the waste segregation, treatment and disposal process to manage its waste in a more sustainable manner.

As part of our operations, we handle more than 300 different chemicals that often have a shelf life of between 6 months to 1 year. We would like to improve the way these chemicals are managed to reduce wastage and disposal.

Additionally, our waste is disposed in bulk (rather than separately) depending on the waste type, and we would also like to improve our waste disposal approach to increase material recyclability.

We generate different types of waste including (but not limited to):

  1. Chemical waste (3 tons per year).
  2. Wastewater (12 cubic meters per month).
  3. General Waste (2 big bins per day).
  4. Methane / Carbon waste.
  5. General (metal, composite etc): 1 lorry every 2 months.

Our current waste management process is as follows:

  1. A designated buffer area as a central collection point for different types of waste;
  2. The buffer area is filled with different types of waste (day-to-day waste including empty containers, expired chemicals, e.g. flammable, acidic and alkaline, IBC tank alkaline wastewater);
  3. The waste is disposed of in bulk.

What We Are Looking For

Solution providers are invited to provide potential solutions to help us with our waste management in any or all of the aforementioned areas.

Challenge Owner(s)Singapore Component Solutions
Industry Types(s)
Circular Economy & Sustainability, Digital/ICT, Logistics

How Might We Improve The Management And Re-Usage Of Our Equipment Transportation Boxes To Achieve Greater Circularity?

At SCS, 7500 pieces of equipment are repaired every year (or 400-600 repairs every month). Each equipment is packaged in a specific registered transportation box. Currently, all cardboard boxes are reused unless when it is damaged.

At our facility, there is a 200 m2 designated area where all boxes are kept. After a piece of equipment arrives, the box is manually sorted and stored. This is error-prone and time consuming. Additionally, our current manual process can lead to mixed-up boxes, especially for equipment which cannot be repaired, and the boxes would remain in the designated area.

Our current process can be summarised as follows:

  1. Arrival of pieces of equipment for repair in cardboard boxes;
  2. Manual unpacking of the piece of equipments and aggregation of the cardboard boxes in the designated area;
  3. Manual sorting and storing of boxes;
  4. Picking of the boxes in case of successful repair OR;
  5. The boxes remain in the designated area in case of unsuccessful repair.

We estimate that the current process takes about 15 minutes of manual handling per box, and 3 FTE employees are required for the logistics and management of the boxes.

What We Are Looking For

We invite solution providers to propose novel solutions to improve the aforementioned process. The solution may include the following features:

  1. A tagging system, e.g. QR-codes, hardware tags.
  2. A software system to track transportation boxes' location and match the corresponding box to its equipment.

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Challenge Owner(s)ST Engineering
Industry Types(s)
Air Transport, Circular Economy & Sustainability, Energy & Chemicals, Precision Engineering

How Might We Capture (And Store) CO2 Emissions Arising From Our Engine Test Cell Activities?

As the maintenance, repair and overhaul of airplane engines is one of our core business areas, a substantial amount of aviation jet fuel is consumed every year which consequently, drives up our direct greenhouse gas emissions. We are keen to look for solution providers with innovative carbon capture technologies to capture (and store) emissions from our engine test cells that would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere via the exhaust tunnel.

What We Are Looking For

For each engine test run, we consumed about (1000-5000) liters of aviation-grade fuel (Jet A1), generating around 2.27 tCO2e. We are looking for solutions that can demonstrate to capture at least 25% of the resultant emissions.

To the best of our knowledge, no solution exists in the market today that specifically focuses on CO2 capture from engine test cell activities.

Potential solutions can include any viable carbon capture technologies including but not limited to:

  • Chemical solvents;
  • Membrane based technology;
  • Reverse Osmosis;
  • Oxyfuel combustion;
  • Absorption etc.

We are open to any solutions that can achieve our objectives notwithstanding factors such as feasibility of implementation, solution effectiveness and cost.

Solution providers should be aware that there is also a correlation factor to be applied during each engine run depending on the type/model of engines being tested and this correlation factor may potentially be affected for CO2 capture. ST Engineering is willing to work with shortlisted solution providers to jointly resolve this challenge.

Challenge Owner(s)ST Engineering
Industry Types(s)
Circular Economy & Sustainability, Infrastructure, Sustainable Energy, Urban Solutions

How Might We Design, Construct And Deploy Mobile Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Platforms To Optimise Our Available Land Areas For Renewable Energy Generation?

Currently, ST Engineering has solar PV installed on most of our available hangers and buildings’ rooftop areas to increase renewable energy generation. Given the nature of our business, we still have substantial land areas at our disposal that could be optimised to generate solar energy. However, as the land is also utilised for other periodic operations, we require the need for suitable mobile solar PV platforms that can be deployed and dismantled.

What We Are Looking For

At this moment, we deploy solar PV on a leasing model where the solar PV vendor would finance the capital expenditure to install and maintain the solar panels. ST Engineering will in turn provide the space and has signed an agreement where the vendor can sell the solar energy at a pre-agreed tariff. Any excess energy can be exported to the national grid and sold by the vendor at commercial prices. Ideally, we are looking to deploy its mobile PV Solar installations under a similar business model.

We are keen to explore deployment in both our Paya Lebar and Seletar sites (> 1000 m2).

We have not tried any solution and are open to any solutions that can achieve our objectives of increasing our renewable energy generation notwithstanding factors such as solution effectiveness as well as cost.

Register your interest for the Industry Briefing Session here!

Briefing Date: Monday, April 1, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM (GMT+8)

Briefing Venue: Virtual