GE Additive at Farnborough 2018

July 16, 2018

Helping the aerospace industry innovate with additive

  • Showcasing innovation and additive’s positive impact on the aerospace industry 
  • Manufacturing Partner Network launched to accelerate the additive industry and the path from prototyping to production
  • AP&C materials division and Avio Aero collaborate to relocate gas atomizer technology platform to Canada

Munich, Germany/ Farnborough, UK  – GE Additive has made its debut at the Farnborough International Airshow. Showcasing its portfolio of machine and material innovation, GE Additive will demonstrate the positive and transformative impact additive is adding to the aerospace industry. The company used Farnborough as a platform to launch its global Manufacturing Partner Network and announced a strategic alignment of its powder production technologies to meet growing customer need for titanium and nickel-based alloys.

Additive’s time is now 

The aerospace industry has long been at the forefront of exploring the potential of additive manufacturing. Innovation milestones continue to be reached and rapidly surpassed. The LEAP fuel nozzle, has already been in production for some years, and the increased incorporation additively manufactured parts in airframe structures is having a positive and tangible impact on performance, as well as cost and weight reduction.

At Farnborough, GE Additive will announce a series of new contracts with a wide range of aerospace sector organizations investing in new machines, materials and consultancy services. This positive momentum builds on GE Additive ongoing work with its aerospace customers to reshape product design processes, supply chains and the vast landscape of manufacturing.   

“The aerospace industry, still remains the benchmark for other sectors when it comes to additive. But the critical mass we see today didn’t happen overnight. It is the result of decades of pioneering, visionary engineering and a healthy dose of risk taking,” said Jason Oliver, President and CEO, GE Additive. 

“Today, additive is already achieving amazing things, but we need to keep educating on its potential and demysfity any concerns to maintain healthy levels of investment and create ecosystems to help everyone on the path from prototyping to production,” he added.

Manufacturing Partner Network Launched

GE Additive has launched its Manufacturing Partner Network (MPN). The MPN aims to create an open, competitive marketplace that will accelerate both supply and demand for additive manufacturing.  The first three Manufacturing Partners (MPs) to join the network are Burloak Technologies, Carpenter Co and Proto Labs Inc. MPs are additive production partners that will help customers make additive parts in volume.

The MPN takes an ecosystem approach to addressing several commercial challenges to ensure the additive industry reaches its next inflection point.  

As companies become ready to take the next step and move into volume production of additive parts they are looking for cost-efficient, scalable routes to volume production. However, limited access to equipment, funding to invest and expertise often prevents them from taking the next critical steps.  Additive manufacturing suppliers are also seeking demand to build long-term business cases in order to invest, while OEMs need a guaranteed source of capacity, so they can continue to invest with confidence.  

“We know first hand that the transition from prototyping to volume production is possibly the biggest step on any company’s additive journey and that can be daunting. The MPN is designed to give companies a range of options to help them progress and continue innovating by uniting them with a choice of trusted partners to give them peace of mind, in a cost-efficient way, “ said Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive.

AP&C and Avio Aero collaborate to relocate gas atomizer technology platform

GE Additive also announced that its materials division, AP&C has acquired the gas atomiser equipment currently installed at Avio Aero’s plant in Cameri Italy. This new technology is complementary to AP&C’s proprietary Advanced Plasma Atomization (APATM) process.  

As the additive industry grows, so does the demand for powder and materials - in particular titanium and nickel-based alloys from the aerospace industry.  In anticipation for increased demand over the coming years and following a strategic business review, the gas atomizer technology previously installed since 2014 at Avio Aero’s facility in Cameri, Italy for the in-house production of powders of special metal alloys such as Titanium Aluminide (TiAl) is being transferred to AP&C’s facility in Montreal, Canada. 

“Without ongoing materials science research and innovation, additive will struggle to advance. So, while this relocation makes sense commercially, it is also a key element of our future materials development strategy.  Having this complementary technology in the AP&C portfolio, opens up wider possibilities for us as a business and also for our customers, who continually to want to push boundaries,” said Alain Dupont,  President & CEO, AP&C.