GE Additive announced that it successfully shipped the first Concept Laser M Line Factory additive manufacturing system from its facility in Germany to the U.S. this weekend. The system, which will be installed at GE Aviation’s Additive Technology Center in Cincinnati, offers modular, automated production capabilities for metal AM.
To make the announcement even more exciting, GE Additive has revealed that the industrial metal additive manufacturing system was actually transported across the Atlantic aboard a Boeing 747-8 Freighter powered by GEnx-2B engines, which will soon integrate 3D printed parts manufactured by GE Additive. Talk about full circle.
The 3D printed parts to be integrated into the GEnx engines are brackets which were designed to replace traditionally manufactured power door opening system (PDOS) brackets. The components, which were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last November, are being manufactured at GE Additive’s facility in Auburn, Alabama using Concept Laser M2 machines.
M Line Factory
GE Additive first announced its plans to ship its M Line Factory system at Formnext 2018, with an expected start date of Q2 2019. Now, the company has successfully deployed the first metal AM system internally. (GE also recently revealed that Turkish aerospace company TUSAŞ Engine Industries, Inc. invested in two M LINE systems and two M2 cusing 3D printers.)
The metal AM system has been in the works since GE Additive acquired Concept Laser, with the former improving the M Line Factory in terms of automation, modularity, build capacity and process controls. The updated system consists of two independent machine units: the Laser Processing Station for part production and the Material Handling Station for setting up and dismantling.
The 3D printer was recently delivered to GE Aviation’s Additive Technology Center in Ohio, which houses one of the world’s largest and most cutting-edge 3D printing facilities. The M Line Factory system will feel right at home there among roughly 90 3D printers, operated by a team of 300 designers, machinists and engineers.