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GE 3D Printing Initiative Named Top 10 Breakthrough Technology by MIT Technology Review

GE 3D Printing Breakthrough

GE 3D Printing Initiative Considered a Breakthrough

“General Electric is making a radical departure from the way it has traditionally manufactured things.” MIT Technology Review

GE is embracing 3D printing. Starting with its aviation division, some complex parts will be created through additive manufacturing rather than conventional methods. This innovation could carry over into other divisions as well.

The MIT Technology Review referred to GE’s move as one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies this year, and provided more background on how GE got here.

Last fall, GE purchased a pair of companies with know-how in automated precision manufacturing of metals and then folded the technology into the operations of GE Aviation. That group doesn’t have much time to demonstrate that its new technology can work at scale. CFM International, GE’s joint venture with France’s Snecma, will use the 3D printed nozzles in its LEAP jet engine, due to go into planes in late 2015 or early 2016 (CFM says it already has commitments of $22 billion). Each engine will use 10 to 20 nozzles; GE needs to make 25,000 of the nozzles annually within three years.

3D printing is a cost advantage

It is widely believed the 3D printing is more expensive than conventional methods of manufacturing, but GE has found a way to make 3D printing a cost advantage, as the MIT Technology Review explains.

GE chose the additive process for manufacturing the nozzles because it uses less material than conventional techniques. That reduces GE’s production costs and, because it makes the parts lighter, yields significant fuel savings for airlines.


Via MIT Technology Review.

Image from GE Global Research.