By guest author Bridget O’Neal, 3D Printing
Another dynamic collaboration is in the works as General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has selected GE Additive as a consultant in their latest mission for accelerating and strengthening their metal 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes.
GE’s consultancy division, AddWorksTM will be teaming up with GA-ASI as they begin reaping all the benefits of 3D printing with metal to include the ability to make extremely strong, powerful, reliable parts that may not have been possible previously.
“This is a great fit for us, because GE has already been through a similar journey. We get where GA-ASI is at and where it wants to go. By offering our learnings and in-depth knowledge of the aerospace and defense industry, we will be able to assist them in leveraging metal additive with our methodical, systematic approach, that meets the exacting requirements of the sector and their aggressive goal to grow the impact of additive within their application space,” said Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive.
GE Additive AddWorks is comprised of over 200 team members specializing in engineering and manufacturing. As consultants to GA-ASI, they will use their knowledge in AM processes, advising the Poway, California-headquartered company in:
- How to introduce AM into their business overall
- Related industrialization issues
- Part certification processes
- Materials characterisation
- Production readiness strategies
“Some of our AddWorks consultants are responsible for designing and then industrializing many of the additively manufactured aerospace parts that are in service today. So, they are very well-placed to accompany GA-ASI in accelerating their additive journey. We’re honored to secure this engagement and look forward to helping them drive successful outcomes and their competitive advantage,” he added.
Many other industry leaders are making similar forays into both investing and committing to progressive new ways of manufacturing such as AM. Although there may be a significant initial investment for large companies engaged in industrial manufacturing, actual parts usually cost exponentially less, and can be both designed and produced on demand in low-batch volume.
While larger companies such as GE and GA-ASI may already have firm control in-house for research and development, design, and production, AM processes at the ready mean that engineers can use scanning technology to replace parts that may have become difficult to procure or are actually obsolete and impossible to find. Changes can be made quickly, and new iterations can be fabricated and tested immediately, meaning there is little interruption to workflow—whether products may be created for maintenance and replacement or are completely new innovations.
While GE is known for their own additive manufacturing facilities and innovations, GE Additive has been behind many exciting projects where they offer their expertise to other industry leaders and researchers, to include working with University of Sydney in metal 3D printing, Vera in securing 3D printing workflow, and partnering with automotive leaders like Honda.