Reposted from 3DPrint.com BY MITCH HENSLEY · MAY 7, 2014
We all know that manufacturing via 3D printing is certainly the future, but that future may be happening faster than many would have ever imagined. As competition for lighter, cheaper, and more complicated parts heat up, the desire to find new advanced, affordable manufacturing methods takes front seat for many large scale companies. Today General Electric announced that they will be opening up a $200 million manufacturing facility in Chakan, located in the Pune district of the Indian State of Maharashtra.
The plant will feature advanced 3D printing technology, capable of churning out high level plastic, and eventually metal parts, used for jets, engines, and turbines. It will be the first plant in India which is dedicated to manufacturing via 3D printing, and will create a significant number of new jobs for the area, which is located in the western part of Maharashtra.
“The company has installed the first 3D printing machine at the Chakan plant,” said Thomas Mitchell, the General Manager of supply chain, distributed power at GE Water & Power. “We will start with plastics(printing plastic parts) and then get into metal parts/components,” he added.
Up until recently, 3D printing has been used as just one step of the manufacturing process, to create prototypes and molds. However, we have seen a major trend in the last 12-18 months, towards companies using the advanced technology as a means of direct production. This is what General Electric will be doing in India. Because 3D printers can produce an infinite number of objects of different shapes, sizes, and materials, this facility will be one of the first to cater to several different industries under one roof. Traditionally manufacturing requires specialized machines and molds for any given object, while a 3D printer can easily churn out 10 objects, all varying to a great degree, without having to change out equipment.
The formal opening of this new facility will take place sometime later this year. Discuss GE’s ambitions within the additive manufacturing space at 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of General Electric’s Cincinnati 3D printing facility.