General Electric Co. is upping the role that additive manufacturing will play among its diverse businesses.
The firm said Nov. 12 it will spend $32 million on a new advanced manufacturing center outside Pittsburgh, in suburban Findlay Township. The center will develop and help implement additive manufacturing across GE's industrial businesses.
GE is well along adopting metal additive technology. It said a $75 million advanced manufacturing investment at its Rutland, Vt., facility has already led to more than $300 million in jet engine production savings the past two years.
GE declined to be specific about how prominent plastics additive manufacturing will be in its new center but it said in a statement, “every industrial business within GE is using [additive] technology for plastics for the use of quick prototyping, tooling, modeling, manufacturing and assembly aids, fixturing and inspection.”
The new center will create 50 engineering jobs in disciplines from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering. They will be part of GE's 50,000-strong global network of scientists, engineers and skilled personnel working on the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate's challenges. GE plans to begin constructing the center in March and to complete it in September.
GE defines advanced manufacturing as including digital fabrication technology, lean manufacturing, rapid prototyping, advanced materials science, supply chain efficiency and open innovation. The new center complements similar centers established in the past few years for GE Power & Water in Greenville, S.C., GE Aviation in Asheville, N.C., GE Oil & Gas in Jacksonville, Fla., and GE Aviation in Auburn, Ala.
GE said next year it will mass produce complex interiors of fuel nozzles for the next-generation LEAP jet engine. Each engine has 20 nozzles with 3-D printed interiors to make the engine more durable, lighter and more fuel efficient. 3-D printing allows GE to make the nozzle interiors as one part rather than 20 individual parts, thereby reducing the number of brazes and welds required in traditional manufacturing. GE is developing LEAP with French aerospace firm Snecma SA.