This week is a busy one for GKN, which just announced that it would be creating a new division called GKN Additive to consolidate all of its additive manufacturing activities into one area. The division, operating from several centers of excellence located in four countries, encompasses the entire additive manufacturing process, from powder production to manufacturing to final part certification. With the new division, GKN joins other major corporations like GE that have dedicated new divisions to 3D printing technology.

It’s appropriate, then, that today GKN should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE Additive as well as Concept Laser and Arcam AB, which GE Additive acquired last year. Under the terms of the agreement, GKN will become a GE Additive development and production partner as well as a preferred powder supplier. In return, GE Additive and its partners will provide GKN with additive manufacturing machines and services.

“We look forward to collaborating with GE Additive on this revolutionary technology,” said Joe Sclater, Head of Strategy at GKN. “GKN has a strong history of producing and certifying AM parts and powder, and this distinctive dual expertise enables us to create competitive solutions for our customers.  By working together, GKN and GE can accelerate future developments in additive manufacturing and meet the growing demand we’re seeing across a range of industries.”

[Image courtesy of GKN]

GE Additive and its affiliates will become non-exclusive preferred suppliers of additive manufacturing machines to GKN and its affiliates, while GKN becomes a GE Additive development and production partner for several free form and powder bed deposition 3D printing technologies. GKN and GE Additive will also collaborate on part development projects on powder bed machines in pursuit of new market opportunities. GKN will be a non-exclusive powder supplier to GE Additive and GE’s industrial businesses, and finally, GE Additive’s Engineering Consulting Team, AddWorks, will work with GKN and its affiliates to develop and industrialize additive manufacturing machines.

“GE Additive and GKN both understand the transformative power that additive manufacturing will have to a range of industries,” said Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive. “Additive machines from Concept Laser and Arcam will bring tremendous value to this GKN relationship and we look forward to collaborating more closely in the future.”

GKN is not new at all to additive manufacturing, but the establishment of GKN Additive and the partnership with GE Additive show that the company is placing even more emphasis on leveraging the technology’s benefits across its multiple businesses. The fact that GKN is focusing its additive manufacturing activities further is not surprising – its three other divisions, GKN Aerospace, GKN Driveline and GKN Powder Metallurgy are all heavily influenced by additive manufacturing, and the industries they’re centered on are becoming more reliant on the technology every day.

Aerospace, in particular, is becoming more and more of a 3D printing-heavy industry, and GKN Aerospace has produced certified components for seven major airline platforms. The corporation will undoubtedly benefit from greater access to additive manufacturing equipment and expertise through the GE partnership – and in return, GKN’s own expertise in metal powder materials will be valuable to its new partners.

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