GE (NYSE: GE), the world’s leading digital industrial company, is well positioned to advance the additive manufacturing revolution across several industries.
As a leading end user and investor in additive technology for several years, GE is experiencing its transformative engineering and manufacturing power across the company’s industrial businesses.
GE has also invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies at GE’s Global Research Center (GRC) in Niskayuna, New York, in addition to building a global additive network of centers focused on advancing the science.
Now, GE is fully focused on becoming a leading supplier of additive machines, materials, and software for several industry segments, including aerospace, power generation, automotive, medical, and electronics.
GE seeks to grow its new additive business to $1 billion by 2020. GE is planning to sell 10,000 additive machines over the next 10 years.
In addition to building out a portfolio of additive machines, GE anticipates that 25% of the advanced powder metal used in manufacturing will be in the additive manufacturing space. GE’s key efforts underway to position the company as an industry provider include:
- Concept Laser GmbH. In late October, GE reach agreement to acquire a 75% stake in Concept Laser for $599 million (€549 million). The agreement is structured to allow GE to take full ownership over several years. Concept Laser is a pioneer in the field, designing and manufacturing bed-based laser additive machines with customers in the aerospace, medical, dental, automotive, and jewelry industries. Headquartered in Lichtenfels, Germany, Concept Laser has operations in the United States (Grapevine, Texas), China, and a network of more than 35 distributors and agents. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to close this year.
- Arcam AB. – On November 14, GE agreed to purchase controlling shares of Arcam AB of Sweden, following the conclusion of an extended public tender offer. Arcam shares tendered during the extended acceptance period – combined with Arcam shares acquired by GE – correspond to approximately 73.57% of the total number of outstanding shares for GE. Based in Mölndal, Sweden, Arcam AB is the inventor of electron beam melting machines for metal-based additive manufacturing, and a producer of advanced metal powders with customers in the aerospace and orthopedic industries. Arcam generated $80 million in revenues in 2015. Arcam also operates AP&C, a metal powders operation in Canada, and DiSanto Technology, a medical additive manufacturing firm in Connecticut in the U.S.A., as well as sales and application sites worldwide.
“These technologies will be bolstered by a growing global network of GE centers focused on additive research and technology,” said Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President of GE Additive. “As GE develops its additive engineering and manufacturing capabilities, it further positions us to be better providers of the equipment.”
In addition to GE’s Global Research Center in New York, other GE centers engaged in additive R&D include:
- Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA). Opened in April in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the CATA design lab is focused on broadening additive capabilities across the GE businesses.
- Additive Technology Center. Opened in 2015 in West Chester, Ohio, the center supports GE Aviation’s additive design, application engineering and manufacturing capabilities.
- Avio Aero. At its facility in Cameri, Italy, Avio is advancing the use of electron beam melting in producing parts with highly complex material properties.
Additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing) involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Because additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate far less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing has the potential to dramatically expand design possibilities for engineers.
Additive manufacturing is a key part of GE’s evolution into a digital industrial company and will leverage the Predix platform as part of GE’s Brilliant Factory initiative. GE’s industrial businesses are heavily involved in design and producing components using additive. Some key examples:
- GE Aviation: For the best-selling LEAP jet engine produced by CFM International (50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines), the company will produce 6,000 fuel nozzle components using the additive process. About 35% of the Advanced Turboprop Engine (ATD) will be produced using additive.
- GE Oil and Gas: Additive technology is being used to produce lean burning combustion swirlers, which mix air and fuel in the combustion chamber.
- GE Power: In 2018, the company introduces an advanced turbine shroud produced using additive.
About GE Additive
GE Additive is part of GE (NYSE: GE), the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Visit GE Additive at www.geadditive.com
GE Additive is led by David Joyce, GE Vice Chairman and CEO of GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE and a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. For more information, visit us at www.geaviation.com.
Source: GE Additive