Every day we hear more news about the 3D printing industry’s growth. Today we got word that General Electric’s Oil and Gas Division will begin using metal laser sintering technology to 3D print fuel nozzles for Gas turbines sometime in the second half of this year. Initially the program will begin as a pilot project, and progress to full production by next year.
The technology that General Electric plans to use for this production process originates from an acquisition they had back in November of 2012 of Morris Technologies, a firm employing 130 people in Cincinnati Ohio. Over the last 15 months GE has continued to improve upon the technology, and has been using it to produce 3D printed fuel nozzles for their Leap engines. The nozzles will be more durable and lighter than traditionally manufactured nozzles.
General Electric’s Oil and Gas Division plans to spend over $100 million in the next two years alone on technology development, of which a “significant portion,” will be utilized for 3D printing technologies. They hope to grow both the scope and scale of production with 3D printing techniques. Eric Gebhardt, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Engineering at GE Oil & Gas, said the following,
“Now we’re going to have to see how large they can get over time, Will it follow Moore’s law where it is going to double in size every 18 months? That’s kind of what we’re seeing right now. But when is it going to reach a natural inflection point? That’s something we have to work through.”
It will be interesting to see if the competition follows suit on adopting 3D Printing manufacturing processes as quickly and as expansive as GE has.
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