GE to Advance Additive Manufacturing To Production
New facility in Alabama follows on an existing unit in Cincinnati as well as a new one in Greenville, SC. The Alabama plant could be printing 40,000 fuel nozzles by 2020.
General Electric announced at the Farnborough Airshow that it will “spend $50 million on developing a high-volume 3-D printing plant in Alabama,” according to ME Media. The announcement, made alongside Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, “builds on GE’s efforts to make 3D printers a fixture on assembly lines rather than just tools to create plastic prototypes.” The company will hire up to 300 people for the new facility in Auburn, AL, with production starting next year.
Financial Times reports additive manufacturing “previously seen as a niche method mostly of use for prototypes or emergency spare parts, is reaching maturity with the LEAP engine under development …Each Leap engine will have fuel nozzles built by additive manufacturing.”
That is where the Alabama facility enters the picture. In reporting from AL.com (7/15, Azok), the new $50M facility is aimed at mass producing fuel nozzles for the jet engines. “Equipment installation is expected to begin later this year, with production of the fuel nozzles starting next year. By the end of 2015, the plant could have up to 10 printing machines with the potential to grow to more than 50.” Production is expected to ramp up from 1000 fuel nozzles annually to more than 40,000 by 2020.
Other reporting with images includes 3DPrint.com.
This is not an isolated event for GE. In Related News Foundry-Planet.com (7/1) reported that a similar facility in Greenville, SC, “which will be known as the Advanced Manufacturing Works ... is slated to open in 2015. The first-of-its-kind center will employ a variety of technologies including additive manufacturing using lasers and electron beams, five-axis machining, automated welding and advanced composites.” This unit will be devoted to components for Water and Power.
Published Date : 8/4/2014