GE, well known as a big-name end-user and additive manufacturing innovator, has invested around $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies. The company acquired a 75% stake in Concept Laser and 76.15% of Arcam AB last year, as the company set about moving forward with bold moves in additive manufacturing. It also developed additive applications across six GE businesses, including its dedicated GE Additive branch. In early 2017, GE announced that it would be investing $10 million over the next five years in the GE Additive Education Program (AEP), a two-part educational initiative that’s designed specifically to foster and develop students’ skills to prepare them for the workforce.
Even though 3D printer costs are lower, and the industry has an increased focus on schools and educational 3D printers, the technology is not affordable for a lot of schools. That’s why the AEP’s mission is to provide schools at the primary, secondary, and collegiate levels with 3D printers. $8 million of GE’s investment was designated to provide metal 3D printers to higher education institutions, while $2 million was set aside to give desktop 3D printers to primary and secondary schools. The worldwide response was huge: GE Additive received over 250 applications from colleges and universities, and over 500 applications from primary and secondary schools. A team of GE specialists evaluated each school in order to determine the final selections.
GE Additive has announced that it has chosen more than 400 schools around the world to receive 3D printers as part of the program. As part of its commitment to developing future additive manufacturing talent around the world, GE will be sending a desktop polymer 3D printer package to around 400 primary and secondary schools, and a metal 3D printer to eight universities; globally, this initiative will reach over 180,000 students.
In January, GE stated, “We are looking to support a diverse cross-section of schools, representing a variety of sizes, types and cultures from around the world.”
Primary and secondary schools all over the world, including the US and Canada in North America; Germany, Spain, and the UK in Europe; and China and India in Asia, will have access to the AEP’s 3D printer packages. Each package will include one XYZprinting printer and one Polar 3D printer, both of which are Polar Cloud-enabled polymer printers.
Additionally, the schools will receive Polar 3D’s STEAMtrax curriculum, which comes with a two-year license, six rolls of 3D printing filament, and its “Tinkering with Turbines” module kit, where students will research types of energy and then have the opportunity to design, print, and test a wind turbine model that transforms wind energy into electric energy.
Polar 3D acquired STEAMtrax from 3D Systems back in 2016. The innovative curriculum integrates 3D printing technology and engineering with core academic knowledge in several STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) subject areas. Each lesson uses 3D design, 3D printing, and 3D scanning technology as an important part of the STEAMtrax Engineering Process, and students can participate in relevant learning scenarios that encourage problem solving, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. The curriculum modules offer hands-on learning stations and are available in print or digital platforms.
Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President of GE Additive, said, “Additive manufacturing and 3D printing is revolutionizing the way we think about designing and manufacturing products. We want a pipeline of engineering talent that have additive in their DNA. This education program is our way of supporting that goal.”
In addition to providing the primary and secondary schools with desktop 3D printers as part of the first year of its AEP, GE will be giving eight universities a $250K Concept Laser MLAB Cusing 100R metal 3D printer.
- Auburn University
- Boston University
- Iowa State University
- North Carolina State University
- Ohio State University
- University of Cincinnati
- U.S. Naval Academy
- University of New South Wales
GE has been an active supporter of education for over 100 years, focusing on the areas that can improve student outcomes; the company has invested over $225 million to support public education in just the US. By helping educational institutions give students access to 3D printers, the worldwide adoption of additive manufacturing is accelerated. GE Additive will deliver 3D printers to the chosen schools later this year. If your school is interested in the AEP, GE will continue to provide 3D printers to schools over the next four years; the next application window, which will be open during the first quarter of 2018, will be announced on the GE Additive website. Discuss in the GE Additive Education forum at 3DPB.com.