The cradle of GE’s innovation

November 11, 2019 | 09:32
Technological innovations in aviation, power, and healthcare from John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) are helping developing countries like Vietnam address infrastructure development challenges. Mai Huong reports.
the cradle of ges innovation
GE, through R&D centres such as JFWTC, has been at the forefront of innovative cross-sector solutions for decades

With the participation of over 5,000 engineers and scientists, JFWTC, General Electric’s (GE) first and largest integrated multidisciplinary research and development centre outside the United States, is one of the world’s most diverse industrial research organisations that is at the forefront of designing innovative technology ­solutions shaping the future and has contributed to over 3,500 patents for GE.

Built in the middle of lush greenery in Bangalore, India, this industry-leading research and development facility is GE’s innovation engine where new ideas become commercial reality. Formed by iconic American inventor Thomas Edison, R&D has been the cornerstone of GE’s development over the past century. JFWTC is the birthplace of thousands of innovations across multiple sectors, including aviation, healthcare, power, and renewable energy, especially for rapidly-growing markets like those of the ASEAN.

Working to push boundaries and transforming ideas to solve the toughest problems of customers, JFWTC offers three main services to partners: testing and measurement, research, and licensing. Based on that, the centre has built comprehensive portfolios of solutions for GE businesses from downstream to upstream and to each end-user to meet the high demand of customers. This occurs in six key fields – material solutions, electric power, thermal science, physical-digital analytics, imaging, and controls and optimisation.

Innovating for sustainability

Beginning with power lights and electronics, GE has continued to innovate in a multitude of fields with significant developments in technology worldwide across more than 125 years of evolution, living out the motto penned by Thomas Edison himself: “We find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent it.”

Particularly, technological innovations across the aviation, power, and healthcare businesses of JFWTC are closely linked to the ASEAN markets. GE’s scientists have successfully developed solutions for customers in the region, for example, the 9HA gas turbines that will be used in providing electricity to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, GEnX engines that are used in Vietnam Airlines’ aircraft, and the solutions that make advanced medical equipment made affordable for the region.

Specifically, 9HA gas turbines hold the world record for powering the most efficient combined cycle power plant at 63.08 per cent efficiency. Across the ASEAN, GE will provide two units to Thailand that will generate 1,400MW of power, five units to Malaysia (3.5GW), and two units to Indonesia (2,540MW).

Meanwhile, medical innovations from JFWTC have contributed to GE Healthcare’s capability to improve access to affordable healthcare across the ASEAN. Revolution ACT, a full-body CT scanner, was designed and developed in India with insights from potential users in remote areas of emerging markets globally.

The product has features similar to a premium CT system – high image quality, easy-to-use interface, and low dose radiology technology – but at a fraction of the price. The scanners occupy 50 per cent less space in hospitals, consume 47 per cent less power, have a 28 per cent lower scanning time, and reduces the radiation dose by 36 per cent. About 150 medical facilities have installed these CT scanners in the ASEAN, with key markets being Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Besides this, infant mortality rates in some ASEAN countries are high. Hence, there is a huge need to provide maternal and infant care in these countries at an affordable cost. GE Healthcare’s Lullaby range of warmers, resuscitation, and phototherapy devices help address this condition. It was co-created with input from healthcare partners across rural and community health centres in India and Bangladesh by observing the conditions clinicians in these low-resource settings face.

Virtual solutions

GE approaches Tele-ICU technology which uses a virtual care collaboration platform to link a critical-care team of nurses and intensivists from a remote hospital to the resources of a large, multi-specialty facility. GE Healthcare’s Virtual Care Platform provides the digital building blocks to help hospitals and health systems create their own tele-ICU networks to serve critically-ill patients at remote clinics and hospitals.

Meanwhile, Mural is an advanced form of tele-ICU solution. While a typical tele-ICU solution will connect remote locations with a tertiary centre of excellence in a large city where specialists are available, Mural takes it a step ahead by providing a critical care network for a hospital or a network of hospitals where ICU and different departments can be integrated for integrated care. GE India Technology Centre is the growth engine for GE and for global tech advancement.

This global research centre is at the forefront of designing innovative solutions that are shaping the future. GE is an innovation partner to see, move, and create the future with more accurate, efficient, and eco-friendly solutions. With a legacy of unmatched expertise built over a century, GE is co-creating solutions for customers to solve some of the toughest issues.

Alok Nanda - CEO, GE India Tech Centre and CTO, GE South Asia

the cradle of ges innovation

Vietnam needs more power in the future and I see a lot of opportunities for renewable power, especially in storage, hybrid solutions, and hybrid electric gas turbines.

Such turbines we have already implemented in southern California. For Vietnam, where the per capita consumption of electricity is much lower than the global average, all technologies – wind, solar, and thermal – will be used, which means there will be opportunities to utilise all of GE’s solutions.

In addition to power, Vietnam is also a potential market in aviation with the participation of national carrier Vietnam Airlines and the very dynamic carrier Vietjet, along with numerous new players like Bamboo Airways. They are and will be strong partners for GE in the time coming.

Engineering teams at JFWTC have helped to ­produce stronger engines with improvements in fuel consumption, while maintaining dispatch reliability and reducing life-cycle ­maintenance costs for the world’s largest commercial jet engine, the GEnX that is used by Vietnam Airlines’ fleet.

Wouter Van Wersch - President and CEO GE Asia and Pacific

the cradle of ges innovation

We can see great opportunities to grow power generation, aviation, and especially healthcare in Vietnam for a large number of new hospitals that are currently being planned. Earlier in 2017, GE signed a long-term partnership agreement with Vinmec, which was the first strategic partnerships we launched in the ASEAN to ­promote science-technology ­application, optimise infrastructure, and see how we could bring the latest technologies to Vinmec hospitals in particular and to the country in general.

Especially, Mural, which was launched last July, will be helpful in Vietnam, where there are fewer good doctors and hospital facilities in rural and remote areas. This will be one of the major solutions to enable clinical surveillance and build a care collaboration platform to enable precision health. Mural focuses a clinician’s attention to the most critical patient cases and reduces the time to intervention due to its ability to digitalise and transform hospital and/or industry-defined protocols into an interactive visual dashboard that can scale care pathway compliance from a single hospital to an entire hospital network.

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