General Electric Co.’s health unit has opened its second 3D printing lab as the company seeks speed up introduction of new medical products.
GE Healthcare has opened the lab, called the Innovative Design and Advanced Manufacturing Center, in Uppsala, Sweden, GE (Boston) said in a statement.
The new center, in addition to having metal and polymer printers, also includes collaborate robots, which work in close proximity to humans.
GE Healthcare established its first such lab in Waukesha, WI, where the unit is based.
“Additive has been on our radar for four years now,” Jimmie Beacham, chief engineer for advanced manufacturing engineering at GE Healthcare, said in an interview.
GE Healthcare has looked to 3D printing to produce parts and products “in a way we never have before,” he said. With medical imaging systems such as X-rays, MRIs and ultrasound, he said, “We’re targeting very complex shapes. There’s a huge hunting ground in that space for us. We can help make the imaging systems see better.”
‘Pent Up Demand’
The unit selected Uppsala for the second lab because “we just started seeing a lot of activity in our life sciences business,” Beacham said. “There became a critical mass. There was pent up demand to try things. We have a big engineering team there that has grabbed on to additive.”
The company said in the statement the Wisconsin and Sweden centers will share information and work together on new design ideas.
GE is expanding its presence in 3D printing. The company has said the technology’s markets also include the aerospace and oil and gas industries.
The company last year acquired majority stakes in Concept Laser and Arcam AB, to expand its additive manufacturing capabilities. GE plans to sell 10,000 3D printing machines over 10 years and expand additive into a $10 billion business for itself.