It seems to be Additive Manufacturing April for General Electric, who, earlier this month, opened a $40 million Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh. Just prior to that, the company opened another factory in India, which, while not solely dedicated to 3D printing, includes the technology as one of its several manufacturing capabilities. If any doubt remained that the company is serious about 3D printing, it should vanish now, as GE Power has just opened another new facility, this time in South Carolina.
Like the India factory, the new Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) isn’t only an additive manufacturing facility, but the technology is certainly part of it, along with robotics, automation, advanced software and other technologies that have the potential to turn GE into the next big name in digital manufacturing.
“GE is leading the transformation of manufacturing in the power industry, and this facility will ignite the digital industrial revolution for our company and the industry,” said Steve Bolze, President and CEO of GE Power. “The opening of the AMW is a pivotal moment for us. We’re building a skilled workforce and culture that’s devoted to delivering breakthrough innovations that deliver better, faster outcomes for our customers and unlock new productivity and growth.”
GE Power has already invested $73 million in the 125,000-square-foot facility, which is located at the company’s Greenville manufacturing campus. They expect to invest an additional $327 million in the campus over the next few years, creating at least 80 new engineering and manufacturing jobs. GE Power first opened a facility in Greenville over 40 years ago; at that time, it was a 340,000-square-foot-site. Since then, it’s grown into a sprawling, approximately 1.7 million-square-foot campus that employs more than 3,200 people.
The AMW, which is GE’s first advanced manufacturing facility, will develop new, high-tech manufacturing and prototyping methods for the company’s energy businesses: Power, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas and Energy Connections. The corporation certainly hasn’t been lagging behind when it comes to advanced technology, though. GE Aviation recently unveiled the biggest jet engine in the world, which contained several 3D printed components, and GE Global Research is using 3D printing to develop small but powerful turbines that could be a big breakthrough in clean energy.
GE is very serious about environmental responsibility overall; the AMW was designed with several smart features that will conserve energy.
“We did an exhaustive study during the building design phase to minimize energy usage,” Kurt Goodwin, AMW General Manager, told Environmental Leader. “Everything from building orientation, to use of low transmissibility glass, eyebrows to shade direct sun, GE’s ultra-efficient white LED industrial lights, and smart controls everywhere to shut down or minimize systems not in use. We used ganged UPS and cooling circuits enabled by individual controls for efficiency on a total site basis.”
There are also two charging stations for electric cars in front of the facility. Being one of the world’s largest global corporations, GE can afford to invest a lot of money in advanced technology, and they aren’t hesitating to do so – over the past five years, GE Power has invested more than $500 million in the Greenville campus alone. Discuss in the GE Invests More in 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.