GE runs off $1.4bn, hands it to two 3D printing firms

Powdered metal is big business

makerbot
A Makerbot 3D printer

GE, the US industrial jack-of-all-trades, has pledged to invest a whopping $1.4bn in two 3D printing suppliers to boost materials science and improve manufacturing capabilities.

Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group both specialise in metal-based 3D printing with applications ranging from aerospace to the healthcare industry.

Both companies are part of GE’s wider efforts to expand production and improve existing work on powder metals through the use of 3D printing.

Since 2010, GE has invested $1.5bn in 3D printing, leading to better manufacturing processes and 346 patents in the powdered metals field.

“They each bring two different, complementary additive technology modalities as individual anchors for a new GE additive equipment business to be plugged into GE’s resources and experience as leading practitioners of additive manufacturing. Over time, we plan to extend the line of additive manufacturing equipment and products,” David Joyce CEO of GE Aviation.

3D printed components are reportedly lighter and more durable than traditionally manufactured parts as because they need less welding and produce less waste material.

As GE develops its 3D printing capabilities, it may offer it as a service, Joyce said: “We see value potential to reduce product cost and improve NPI spend. Ultimately, as we develop more productive machines, we can build additive manufacturing ‘as a service’ for our customers.”

Arcam and SLM will remain in Sweden and Germany, and will keep their management teams and employees. ®




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