Wabtec Corp. announced its investment in GE Additive’s H2 binder jet printer capabilities. This order will accelerate Wabtec’s growing additive strategy and its application to the transportation industry. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Additive is one of the key technology pillars for our company and central in our efforts to drive innovation in the industries we serve,” Philip Moslener, global director of the WabtecOne Platform & Applied Innovation. “This binder jet machine will help us design and produce reliable, low-cost components for our current and developmental engines, locomotive, transit and mining programs.”
Wabtec is exploring how additive manufacturing can be integrated into its business to impact its products and transform its supply chain. So far, the company has identified that additive technologies could be used in the production of up to 250 components for its product lines by 2025. The GE Additive team will work closely with Wabtec to support the company’s industrialization strategy.
Wabtec already received its first H2 machine, which is currently located at GE Additive’s labs in Cincinnati. Teams from Wabtec are co-located at the lab to work on technology development, before the machine is relocated to their Grove City, PA facility later this year.
GE Additive has started work with a number of strategic partners and key customers to quickly scale its Binder Jet technology, first into pilot lines, then into complete, industrialized factory solutions – expected to be commercially available in early 2021.
“Throughout 2018, a multi-disciplinary team at GE Additive developed the second generation “H2” binder jet beta machines. Today, parts are being printed on those machines, which we understand provide the largest format and fastest build speed currently on the market,” said Josh Mook, innovation leader at GE Additive.
“Fast forward to early 2019 and we launched the H2 beta testing and partner program. We deliberately sought out partners and key customers, like Wabtec, who are committed to mass production, but also known and respected for their commitment to the early adoption of innovation. Most importantly we want to partner with customers whose businesses will benefit tremendously from Binder Jet’s ability to reliably print large, complex parts at high throughput and low cost,” added Mook.
Metal binder jetting is a family of additive manufacturing technology, where a print head moves across a bed of powder and selectively deposits a liquid binding agent in the shape of the section to be built, bonding these areas together to form “green” parts one layer at a time.
When the build is complete, the “green” parts are removed from the build box and sent to a sintering oven, where the binder is removed and the metal powder is fused into solid metal parts. The material currently used for producing parts is Stainless Steel 316, however other materials are under development including low carbon steels.