The minds behind GE Additive: Greg MorrisSeptember 26, 2018
GE Additive is being built by great minds. They all shared the vision of additive manufacturing’s future and the courage to pursue their own path. Greg Morris is one such visionary.
Greg Morris has always been a visionary, which is why he was drawn to entrepreneurship. He and his brother, Wendell, were the sixth generation to run a family-owned steel company, EK Morris & Company.
In 1991 when his parents decided to sell the company, the door was opened for Greg and Wendell to explore new business opportunities.
At the same time, Bill Noack, a longtime friend and former classmate of Wendell, worked as an engineer and received plastic prototypes from a company using a new technology called 3D printing. Bill shared the prototypes with the Morris brothers, and they immediately saw the potential of 3D printing. And Morris Technologies was founded.
Morris Technologies, Inc. (MTI) started in Cincinnati in 1994 with one software seat license and a polymer stereolithography (SLA) printer. Greg and his partners built a successful business over the next several years by acquiring equipment and hiring a staff of qualified people who shared their vision for 3D printing’s possibilities. MTI would take a new direction in 2003, after a customer showed Greg a mold insert that was made of metal using 3D printing. He immediately recognized the potential of metal additive manufacturing and brought the first metal sintering machine to the United States.
However, the first metal machine came with an array of problems. The machine had limited capabilities when it came to materials, and the metals you could print experienced porosity, stress cracking, and other issues. But a breakthrough happened in 2005—cobalt chrome was developed for additive manufacturing. The material properties for the alloy were great and significantly increased the potential applications for the technology. Morris Technologies went on to double the number of metal additive machines from two to four, which at the time, was the most metal machines in operation at any location in the world. This also drove the company to focus on additive metals, develop IP and invest heavily in R&D. The company served customers in a variety of industries and worked closely with GE Aviation in developing a fuel nozzle for the LEAP engine. By 2012, MTI had more than 20 metal additive machines in operation.
“When you’ve built a business from the ground up, it becomes more to you than just brick and mortar and machines. It’s something you want to protect and ensure its future success,” states Greg Morris. So, when GE approached him about acquiring MTI, he knew it was a good fit. GE was MTI’s largest customer, and Greg knew GE would be good custodians of the technology and would offer employees opportunities to grow with a large, multinational company.
In November 2012 GE Aviation acquired Morris Technologies, which formed one of the building blocks of what is now GE Additive. After the acquisition, Greg stayed on as a GE employee and continued to advocate for additive manufacturing until his retirement earlier this year. Since then, GE has introduced additive manufacturing across multiple businesses which has led to several innovations, including the production of the LEAP fuel nozzle, development of the Catalyst engine that boasts more than 30% of 3D-printed parts, and many other applications. Greg Morris was there from the beginning.
On Wednesday, September 26, Greg Morris was inducted into the TCT Hall of Fame as a pioneer of the industry. While Greg acknowledges this as a great honor, he is quick to point out that the award is shared with the countless people at Morris Technologies and GE who helped bring additive manufacturing out of the shadows and shed light on its potential.