GRAPEVINE, TX — General Electric Co. (Boston) intends to sell 10,000 3D printing machines in 10 years, building upon acquisitions it announced last year.
“It’s a big number,” Tim Warden, senior sales director of GE Additive, told a tour of people attending SME’s AeroDef Manufacturing show. “That’s why they’re investing heavily,” he said, referring to GE.
GE last year announced the acquisitions of Concept Laser (Lichtenfels, Germany) and Arcam AB (Mölndal, Sweden). The tour took place at Concept’s Grapevine, TX, facility, near the AeroDef show in Fort Worth.
GE controls Concept after agreeing in October to buy an initial 75% stake in the German company, with plans to acquire the rest over an undisclosed number of years. The Boston company turned to Concept Laser after a previously announced deal with SLM Solutions fell through.
The company estimates it can expand additive manufacturing into a $10 billion business. GE owns more than 70% of Arcam but doesn’t have full control of the Swedish company.
‘Concentrating on Concept’
For now, “We’re concentrating on Concept where we can do what we want to do,” Warden said. “We’re going to support Concept in every way possible.”
GE is looking to provide financing for customers of Concept 3D printing machines. “GE Finance is on board,” Warden said.
Concept is testing large, automated 3D printing production systems that can be customized for buyers. The idea is adapt 3D printing to large-scale production and go beyond prototypes.
GE wants to boost additive manufacturing across its aerospace, medical and oil and gas product lines. The company became involved with the technology when it developed a 3D-printed fuel nozzle for aircraft engines. Since then it had developed its Advanced Turboprop engine, which reduces the number of parts from 855 to 12.