GE makes additive manufacturing announcement at Farnborough airshow

GE
Aviation has announced that it will spend $US 50 million upgrading its Auburn,
Alabama factory, as it prepares to begin production of LEAP engines in 2015.

The Alabama Media Group reports that the announcement was made by GE and the Alabama
Governor at the Farnborough International Airshow, near London, this week.

The
engines will be made for the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Comac C919
aircraft models.

The
Auburn plant has had $75 million invested in it so far by GE since 2011,
according to the company, employs 70, it will hire up to 300 more workers in the expansion. The
site currently produces turbine blades.

“GE Aviation’s decision to launch a 3-D
printing initiative at its Auburn plant speaks volumes about the ability of an
Alabama workforce to carry out cutting-edge manufacturing,” said Alabama
Governor Robert Bentley in a statement.

“This is tomorrow’s technology, and we are
proud to say it will be performed right here in Alabama.”

3Dprint.com reports that there are plans to have 10
additive manufacturing machines running by the end of 2015, with this
potentially growing to 50.

The
additive manufacturing plans for the next-generation LEAP engine have been the subject of interest since May last year. Each
engine will contain 19 nozzles made by additive manufacturing.

GE says the nozzles will be lighter, five times
as durable and require only a fifth of the number of brazes and welds as they used to.

Consultancy
Wohlers Associates has called the LEAP announcement last year, “one of the most significant milestones in the history of the AM industry.”

According to the Wohlers Report 2014there were 348 metal additive manufacturing machines sold worldwide last year, an increase of 75.8 per cent on 2012’s number.

Image: http://www.metal-am.com/