General Electric has opened a $39 million hub for additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — near Pittsburgh that GE says “will drive innovation and implementation of additive manufacturing across the company.”
The Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA) in Findlay Township, Pennsylvania will focus on developing and implementing industrial additive manufacturing applications for all GE business, including aviation, transportation, power and oil & gas, as well as GE customers, the company says.
3D printing increases efficiency and reduces waste, making it a valuable tool in efforts to make manufacturing more sustainable. Its applications range from medical devices to aerospace — and possibly even drinking water.
In November GE announced a project with the Department of Energy that uses 3D printed turbines in a process that could make desalinated seawater 20 percent less costly to produce.
The new center will develop and offer training in both design and applications. GE says it’s the company’s “first multi-modal site” in the US.
GE says the facility reflects the company’s belief that the intersection of technology and manufacturing — hardware and software — will change the way products are developed and serviced. It will combine lean manufacturing with software analytics to improve capabilities and usage of additive manufacturing across GE’s businesses.
In a statement announcing the center’s opening, GE chief productivity officer Philippe Cochet called it a “new era of manufacturing” and said applying “insights from digital connectivity in collaboration with intelligent devices will elevate the skills of our workforce, streamline productivity and enhance product development overall.”
In conjunction with the CATA opening, GE launched The Future Workforce: Advanced Manufacturing’s Impact on the Economy, a white paper detailing advanced manufacturing’s positive impact on jobs and the economy. Advanced manufacturing accounts for 13 percent of all jobs in the US and contributes $3.1 trillion to the economy, the paper says. In addition, for every advanced manufacturing job created, 3.5 jobs are supported through the supply chain, and the average salary for a technologist in the industry is $95,000.
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