Additive’s Time is Now
October 2, 2018 by GE
Additive manufacturing has already caught the attention of governments across the Middle East and North Africa, who are looking at ways to promote adoption of the technology in their countries.
It’s also very much on the minds of the private sector as well, says Moemen Kassem, general manager, sales & service for GE Additive in the Middle East and Africa.
“We’re finding that regional customers are looking to additive to solve a range of challenges. These include in the areas of inventory, where firms are looking to better manage working capital by printing parts on demand. Others are looking to simplify their supply chain and reduce cost through part consolidation.That means creating one new part that previously did the job of a dozen or more assembled parts – potentially reducing design, sourcing and logistic costs,” he says.
Other companies see additive as a way to improve their product performance “by leveraging additive design concepts in designing a new part/component or redesign existing products. Additive enables customers to produce highly complex parts that are lighter, stronger and more efficient. The complexity of such designs and their production is not achievable with traditional manufacturing techniques.
Additive also helps bring products to markets quicker, by accelerating design innovation and allowing for rapid prototyping that provides multiple iterations in less time, something which we have leveraged ourselves in many GE businesses.
“Customers also want to enhance their product lifecycle for durability, performance, or both” by using additive technologies, he says.
Additive manufacturing can also be better for the environment. By building parts layer by layer, there is less waste, compared with traditional methods such as milling or machining that involve cutting away metal or materials through processes.
GE Additive doesn’t just provide equipment, software and materials, Kassem says. It also offers consultancy services through its AddWorks team, which works with customers globally at all stages of their additive journey as a partner.
Engagements here typically begin by helping to determine the most beneficial use cases for our customer, then supporting them with the best additive technologies & identifying the right materials to use. GE Additive also assists customers with the qualification and certification of parts developed through additive manufacturing.
GE Additive is helping its customers to make the transition from additive manufacturing prototyping to full industrialization and mass production.
“We keep discovering and seeing new useful applications for additive across many industries. Companies in our region that are most interested in exploring additive operate in the automotive, medical, aerospace, power, transportation, and oil and gas sectors,” Kassem says.
Kassem says that both governments & companies in the region understand how additive is positively disrupting the manufacturing sector and the potential value it can bring. It can encourage innovation, attract new investments in industries and ensure the region can compete effectively in global markets
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Additive manufacturing uses computer-aided-design (CAD) software and 3D object scanners to direct hardware to deposit material, one superfine layer at a time in a manner that grows precise three-dimensional objects. Each successive layer bonds to the preceding layer of melted or partially melted material.
Additive can use a range of materials, including metal powder, thermoplastics, ceramics, composites, glass and even edibles like chocolate.
Additive enables the production of complex parts that previously were impossible to produce; it speeds up the manufacturing process and opens up new design possibilities that allow for the creation of lighter and stronger parts and systems.
ADDITIVE IN ACTION
GE Aviation is just one unit within GE to implement additive manufacturing to enhance its products. The fuel nozzles for the CFM LEAP engine is just one example.
As Kassem explains, through additive manufacturing, CFM, which is jointly owned by GE, was able to consolidate 20 parts into one, while achieving a 25% weight reduction and five times the durability of what it replaced.
GE Power and Baker Hughes, a GE company, GE Renewable Energy and other parts of the business are integrating additive manufacturing technologies