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General Dynamics Land Systems selects GE Additive services for metal part production

GE to provide part qualification, production, post-processing and inspection of AM components

GE Additive has been awarded a contract by General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. GE Additive Print Services will support General Dynamics with part qualification, production, post-processing and inspection of additively manufactured components.

General Dynamics Land Systems is developing applications for additive manufacturing on its combat vehicle platforms and is looking to GE Additive to help accelerate the incorporation of AM technology. General Dynamics and GE Additive are working together to identify applications in which additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, can provide value through weight reduction, performance optimization and lead time reduction.

Production Printing

General Dynamics recently worked with GE Additive to transition a titanium cable guard to production. This one-piece titanium component was designed by General Dynamics to replace an 18-piece welded steel component, yielding an 85% weight savings compared with the existing part. The cable guard will be the first additively manufactured metal production part on a U.S. ground combat vehicle, paving the way for similar applications to follow.

“General Dynamics is always looking for innovative technologies to enhance our products, and additive manufacturing holds real promise in the near term. We’ll continue teaming with leading suppliers such as GE Additive as we uncover additional applications for this exciting technology,” said Jason Deters, a specialist in Process & Technology Development at General Dynamics.

Teams from General Dynamics and GE Additive are focused on detailed process development activities to ensure a seamless transition from prototype to production. This involves creating a standardized build plate orientation, as well as support structures and quality control plans to deliver an efficient and repeatable production process.

A 3D-printed titanium cable guard has been transitioned to production by General Dynamics Land Systems and will be printed at GE Additive’s production facility in Pittsburgh. It will be the first 3D-printed metal production part installed on a U.S. ground combat vehicle.

Path to Industrialization

The cable guards will be additively manufactured for production on GE Additive Arcam EBM Q20plus machines, which are well-suited to titanium alloys because the process takes place in vacuum at elevated temperatures, eliminating residual stress and providing superior material properties.

“The GE Additive team has been a great partner during this transition, and we’ve benefited from their expertise on the specific design and qualification requirements for additive-manufactured production components,” added Bill Vanslembrouck, a specialist in Advanced Products & Technology at General Dynamics.

“We’re honored to be working with General Dynamics at this important inflection point in its additive strategy. My team excels at getting organizations from prototype to production as efficiently as possible,” said Chris Schuppe, general manager at GE Additive AddWorks. “To do that, we add value by keeping the business case front of mind, building on our additive production experience and offering our customers multiple technology modalities,” he added.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree. Specializing in covering the AM industry, he founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which operates in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore. Since 2016 he is also a Senior Analyst for leading US-based firm SmarTech Analysis focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets.

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3 Comments

  1. Impressive stuff, but I must ask “can residual stress actually be eliminated” as is claimed in this article?
    How are GE measuring the residual stress? Are they carrying out actual measurements, or relying on FE predictions?
    Personally, I would say that residual stress can be reduced significantly, but eliminated? I have my doubts.
    https://www.veqter.co.uk/residual-stress-measurement/

    1. Wow what an impressive company Veqter! Very interesting. Happy to set up an interview with our editors to learn more about your work and how it relates (clearly) to AM!

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