GE has made a big announcement about its additive manufacturing operations — really big. The company’s GE Additive division is building the world’s largest laser-powder additive manufacturing machine.
Designed for aerospace applications, the device will be able to print in a build envelop of 1 meter cubed (1000 x 1000 x 1000mm). The ATLAS will debut at the Formnext Show in Frankfurt this November.
“The machine will 3D print aviation parts that are 1 meter in diameter, suitable for making jet engine structural components and parts for single-aisle aircraft,” said Mohammad Ehteshami, vice president and general manager of GE Additive. “The machine will also be applicable for manufacturers in the automotive, power, and oil and gas industries.”
GE has partnered with Concept Laser on the project. The latter boasts the current largest laser-powder bed machine (the X Line 2000R), which features a build envelope of 800 x 400 x 500mm.
GE has already built several proof-of-concept versions of the machine. The production version (expected for delivery in late 2018) will feature a customizable, scalable build geometry that offers feature resolution and speeds that will “equal or better today’s additive machines,” the company says.
“We have customers collaborating with us and they will receive beta versions of the machine by year’s end,” Ehteshami said. “The production version (yet to be named) will be available for purchase next year.”
GE acquired controlling shares of both Concept Laser and Arcam last year. ATLAS will be the company’s first GE-branded metal printer, and was officially announced at the Paris Air Show.
GE also announced that GE Additive, Concept Laser and Arcam are now preferred machine suppliers to Oerlikon Group, a company that specializes in advanced materials, production, post processing and surface solutions. French aeronautics company LAUAK is also investing in Concept Laser’s machines.
Source: GE Additive