General Electric has opened the doors of its $60 million advanced manufacturing facility in Clearwater, Florida.
The new 190,000-square-foot facility, an expansion of GE’s 40-year old instrument transformer plant in Clearwater, will produce instrument transformers and capacitors for the global market.
The latest investment in what GE calls a “Center of Excellence” comes as the company has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into advanced manufacturing centers that use technologies and digital platforms including 3D printing, data analytics, connected devices and robotics to make manufacturing more efficient and sustainable.
Last week GE opened its Advanced Manufacturing Works center in South Carolina, saying it has invested $73 million in the Greenville facility to date and plans to invest another $327 million across the GE Power Greenville campus over the next several years.
Earlier this month GE opened a $39 million hub for additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — near Pittsburgh.
GE says with the Clearwater factory, it is meeting growing global demand with a 35 percent increase in capacity and a 50 percent reduction in manufacturing cycle time.
“The equipment manufactured in Florida will maintain efficient power flows across electrical transmission and distribution networks,” said Alan Swade, general manager for the capacitors business at GE’s Grid Solutions, in a statement. “The Clearwater factory will serve one of the fastest growing market segments globally and enable the integration of renewable energy sources around the world.”
The facility is one of GE’s first manufacturing factory to use the GE Predix Edge software, which serves as the foundation for all of GE’s Industrial Internet applications. At Clearwater, Predix will use real-time data from the site’s sensor-enabled manufacturing equipment to predict outcomes and make the process more efficient. This includes design engineering feedback loops to improve product quality and performance, plant efficiency and timely delivery to customers.
GE says it will take the predictive and prescriptive analytics and insights collected from using Predix at the Clearwater facility and transfer them across all of its global manufacturing facilities.
The new facility also includes “state-of-the-art” drying ovens and refinery, sensor-enabled process equipment, and robotics.
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