Tag Archives: Manufacturing

GE breaks turbine energy efficiency record using additive manufacturing

GE's HA fleet status report as of November 27th 2017. Image via GE PowerGE’s largest and most efficient gas turbine the HA, nicknamed HArriet, has broken its own net efficiency record. Beating previous orders at 63.7% efficiency, the HA is now available at 64% under conditions recorded at a test plant in Greenville, South Carolina. The company attributes this feat to “combustion breakthroughs through constant innovation,” and applying additive manufacturing to a number of the turbine’s key components.

HA efficiency in figures

GE H-Class gas turbines are used by over 70 customers in combined cycle power plants around the world. By redirecting the waste heat generated by a gas turbine to a steam turbine, combined cycle power plants produce 50 % more electricity from the same fuel, i.e. natural gas, than a traditional simple-cycle plant.

Just 18 months prior to this new record, a 9HA.01 turbine earned a Guinness World Record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant. At the site in Bouchain, France, the GE 9HA produces enough energy to power 680,000 homes with an output of 605 MW.

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Emirates VP: Everything in the cabin should be 3D printed

Emirates has for the first time used cutting-edge 3D printing technology to manufacture components for its aircraft cabins.

The airline used Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), a new 3D printing technique to produce video monitor shrouds.

Emirates has worked with 3D Systems, a US based 3D printing equipment and material manufacturer and services provider, and with UUDS, a European aviation Engineering and Certification Office and Services Provider based in France, to successfully print the first batch of 3D printed video monitor shrouds using 3D Systems’ Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology platform.

The airline has also 3D printed, received certification for and installed aircraft cabin air vent grills for on-board trials in its first class cabins.

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How 3D Printing can transform the traditional pump manufacturing process

3D printing technology offers countless opportunities to transform the manufacturing industry. 3D printers have expanded a company’s operational capabilities to encompass the use of rapid prototyping. These new developments include 3D printing pumps. Manufacturing pump components can be a costly process, making 3D printing the perfect solution for companies to take advantage of. Materials used for 3D printing pumps can range from polylactic acid to stainless steel, presenting enormous opportunities for companies who adopt the technology in order to improve their bottom line. 3D printing pump components has become particularly beneficial for those who produce complex castings for many pumps including centrifugal pumps, water and sewage pumps, turbine pumps, transfer pumps, fluid flow pumps and many more. Increasing fabrication speed and efficiency while maintaining accuracy and precision are present challenges for manufacturers, and have spurred innovation within the industry to lower costs and deliver a better product to customers. Companies who are putting the power of 3D printing to the test may be eligible to take federal and state Research and Development Tax Credits.

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The Future of Advanced Manufacturing: Design for 3D Printing and implementation of digital factories

3-d-printingWe are still in the early days of 3D printing with respect to the impact that it can deliver both technologically and conceptually. Accepting new ways of designing parts is the first step. From there, we need technology that can help us deliver on the promise of complexity.

If the global engineering and manufacturing community plans to keep unlocking the full potential of industrial 3D printing, together they will have to keep rethinking the fundamentals of design engineering and digital factories of the future.

The Global 3D printing community has grown exponentially since it was invented in 1983 by Charles Hull. The industry has established industrial verticals like aerospace and medical due to major adoption from several leading organizations to satisfy complex needs. Companies that utilize 3D printing are looking to lightweight parts, to create new channels for thermal heat conductivity, which explore new material mechanical properties.

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Preparing for industrial manufacturing 3D Printing


To take advantage of the broadening application of 3D printing, manufacturers need to consider how the technology could fit into five key areas for their businesses.

With its continuing advancement, broad application of 3D printing by industrial manufacturers might not be far away. To unlock its value, however, industrial companies will first need to determine how it can fit into their business and technology landscape.

It is a prospect worth considering, given that 3D printing is an example of the growing investments in digital technologies that can add speed, precision and capacity to the production of complex products. This is particularly important because the increasing demand for tailored products and services will require greater agility and flexibility. The 3D printing industry, estimated to reach $17 billion by 2020, is part of a shift from traditional supply chains to digital supply networks designed to help manufacturers respond more quickly to demand.

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It all adds up: How GE’s 3D Printing push will change manufacturing

Kirk Rogers, GE Additive’s Technology Leader, explains how new approaches to 3D printing will reshape the next century of manufacturing.

GE-additive-montageSince its first major foray into 3D printing with the LEAP engine fuel nozzle, GE has consistently tested and redefined the upper limits of additive manufacturing . When most companies were experimenting with ABS plastics to create colorful approximations of their final product, GE was laying down metal powder and blasting it with lasers to forge a highly complex fuel nozzle with a geometric complexity and durability impossible to reach by conventional machining.

Since acquiring Morris Technologies, the company behind the Direct Metal Laser Melting  (DLML) process used for the nozzle, in 2012, GE has gradually added onto its manufacturing empire, creating GE Additive. Last year, GE acquired 74% of Arcam AB, a Swedish maker of Electron Beam Melting (EBM) machines, as well as 75% of the Germany-based Concept Laser, to leverage its DMLM technology.

By 2020, GE expects to invest $3.5 billion in additive manufacturing. The entire industry was worth $6 billion in 2016, according to Wohlers Associates.

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3D Printing Cummins Engine Repairs

asdfOne of the benefits of additive manufacturing is the potential to eliminate the need for stored inventory. From end products to replacement parts to tools, 3D printing could make it possible to print what we need, when and where we need it, with the mythical batch size of one and completely custom made with very low lead time.

Heavy-duty Cummins cylinder heads wear out after a million miles on the road. Ordinarily, these cast iron parts would have to be replaced with new castings, a costly process in terms of time, energy, and money. Instead, the team ‘scoops out’ the worn section, and uses additive techniques to deposit a high-performance alloy in its place, like a heavy-duty dental filling.

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3D printing adds another dimension as tool for production, not just prototypes

Advancing technology and lower costs have some Seattle-area companies looking to 3D printing for faster, cheaper product tweaks and for full-fledged manufacturing as well.

Prevolve employees Krista Nelson, left, and Stephanie Brossmann demonstrate how a foot scan is taken to gather data to feed into a 3D printer at Prevolve, a company that makes running/walking shoes.  (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)Oliver Brossman struggled for years to find soccer shoes that fit properly and let him run after painful knee injuries. After a futile search, he decided to create his own.

In hopes of making a better shoe, he turned to 3D printing to create custom-fit running shoes. He founded Prevolve, despite no coding knowledge or background in 3D printing.

Three years of prototyping and testing later, the company just launched its first product, BioRunners, a high-end personalized running shoe designed to be better for your body.

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How to increase 3-D Printing adoption throughout the manufacturing value chain

3-D printing is continuing to make inroads into the manufacturing value chain, but most current solutions don’t meet necessary speed, cost and quality standards necessary for broad adoption. How can we change that?

A Thinkstock image of a 3-D printer bed, with a graphic being manufactured.

3-D printing has long shown promise, but it still has yet to gain deep manufacturing market penetration. Throughout the manufacturing value chain, there are many use cases where 3-D printing can be used, but the reality is that very few manufacturers are leveraging 3-D printing in any significant way.

In looking at the manufacturing value chain, one sees the places where it is currently gaining adoption and areas where strong possibilities exist, but most current solutions do not meet the necessary speed, cost and quality standards necessary for broad adoption.

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Five signs companies aren’t fully maximizing AM’s potential

With additive manufacturing (AM) as an established part of many companies’ product development and manufacturing processes, there has been a greater understanding of the technology’s technical and business advantages. With that, more users are benefiting from lighter and more durable parts, increased design freedom and on-demand part production.

But that’s just scratching the surface of AM’s potential.

There’s still room for companies to maximize the technology across their entire operations, from the supply chain and production processes to potential new markets and internal expertise. In a hypercompetitive industry like manufacturing, it’s important to leverage all the tools at your disposal.

Here are five signs companies aren’t fully leveraging AM—and tips on how they can change that.

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