GE recently gathered a group of experts to discuss how additive manufacturing could alter the way we build things. Through the application of new technologies including 3D printing and laser melting, traditional manufacturing processes, such as forging, casting and machining, could be turned upside down. By adding, instead of removing material, new product designs are possible, which can result in dramatic reductions in cost and material requirements. With additive manufacturing, complexity is free. Lighter-weight, geometrically optimized metal parts that offer the same functionality as their traditionally machined counterparts, can now be manufactured with little to no material waste.
The experts gathered in a GE Global Research Google+ Hangout held on September 27, and discussed how additive technology itself is changing, how the adoption of additives is transforming the way we as a society work and collaborate together and how additive can permanently impact the manufacturing business model as we know it.
GE’s focus on additive technologies is part of the company’s continued leadership in advanced manufacturing. GE is perhaps the world’s largest user of additive technologies in metals, with a full-scale additive manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio and a global team of 600 engineers, spread across 21 sites. Companywide, GE now invests $6 billion in R&D and is building a culture committed to delivering faster and better outcomes for society and its customers.