The Anything Factory: A quick overview of @GEAdditive

So there you have three of the aspects of a great commercial: wit, misdirection and kids.  However, in many ways it is truly descriptive of what GE Additive is setting out to do.  According to their website:

As a leading user of the additive technologies, we offer years of experience and a commitment to accelerating additive’s adoption around the globe. That’s why we now supply innovative machines, materials and engineering consulting services to industries ranging from power and medical to aerospace and automotive.

GE itself is a huge company involved in so many things and touching our lives in ways most people aren’t aware of.  From airplane engines flying overhead to the power coming out of an outlet to gas in your car to medical technology saving lives at your local hospital, GE is probably touching it in some way.  Sometimes it’s direct manufacturing, but often it’s through licensing of technology and patents to partners or through subsidiaries.  Current subsidiaries in 3D printing for GE Additive include additive machine providers Concept Laser and Arcam, along with additive materials provider AP&C.

GE additive has been active in 3D printing for a long time, recognizing its potential and being an early adopter. According to a great article in New Equipment Digest:

When most companies were experimenting with ABS plastics to create colorful approximations of their final product, GE was laying down metal powder and blasting it with lasers to forge a highly complex fuel nozzle with a geometric complexity and durability impossible to reach by conventional machining.

Here’s a great overview video of what they do.  I watched it an it felt like the geek equivalent of a football coach’s pregame speech.  If you’re a 3D printing person and this doesn’t get your blood going, I’m not sure what will:

GE has always been a technology leader with tremendous resources and the patience/ability to see big and complex projects through.  Designing an airplane engine or a nuclear reactor isn’t going for the quick buck in business.  With the advantage of being both a user and supplier of technology it’ll be exciting to watch GE push the boundaries of possible in the coming decades.

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