GE (25)

The GE Additive Education Program’s (AEP) 2018 cycle has awarded a polymer 3D printing package to more than 600 primary and secondary schools in 30 countries. Each package includes hardware, software and science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum and will be delivered by 30 September 2018.

For K-12, primary and secondary schools, the program aims to build an ecosystem for 3D printing in education by networking students, machines and content via an online platform, the Polar Cloud. Over the past two years, the AEP has donated over 1,000 polymer 3D printers to schools in 30 countries, providing access to technology and curriculum to more than 400,000 students.

More than 3,000 primary and secondary schools from more countries applied to participate in the AEP’s 2018 cycle, representing a significant year on year increase. This year the five countries with the most recipients are: the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.

Educators and students from participating schools join the Polar Cloud to access tools, software and applications in a collaborative and secure environment. Packages awarded in 2018 include a Polar Cloud premium account, a Dremel Digilab 3D45 polymer 3D printer, six rolls of replacement filament, STEAM curriculum and lesson plans.

“Additive’s time is now.  It is already transforming how we design, engineer and manufacture complex and everyday items.  But we have to keep an eye on the future and ensure we have enough engineers, coders and materials scientists coming through the education system to fulfill the potential of additive manufacturing,” said Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive.

Teachers are creatively incorporating 3D printing technology into lesson plans across a wider range of subjects to enhance the learning experience.  Others have carried out detailed analysis for science fairs, including on how additively manufactured parts could enhance musical instruments. And some schools have organized maker fairs to create and sell gifts to fundraise for community projects.

GE Additive has made a significant financial commitment over five years to invest in educational programs to deliver polymer 3D printers to primary and secondary schools and metal 3D printers to colleges and universities around the world.

Colleges and universities that will be awarded a metal additive manufacturing system as part of the AEP will be announced later this month.

GE and Local Motors announced Fuse, a radical new approach to manufacturing that accelerates product and technology development by combining open innovation with small batch manufacturing.

The digital community for this new model convenes entrepreneurs, scientists, coders, engineers, makers around the world to solve product development challenges ranging from non-invasive testing technologies to in-situ imaging equipment and beyond.

Physical operations for Fuse will come to life in micro-factories designed to bring together GE teams, customers, entrepreneurs, student groups and more.  Micro-factory operations will include rapid prototyping, small-batch manufacturing, and modular experimentation. The initial Fuse micro-factory will open its doors in Chicago this December.

“For the world’s leading digital industrial company, Fuse is the path to accelerated manufacturing innovation. With Fuse, we’ll convene brilliant minds and agile manufacturing hubs to transform product and technology innovation,” said Dyan Finkhousen, Director of Open Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing for GE Global Operations.

The first Fuse micro-factory, launching in December, will focus on non-destructive testing solutions within medical equipment imaging and product inspection disciplines. The inaugural innovation challenge, which opens November 8th - “CT Scan Image Compression” - will invite global collaborators to help solve the complex task of making scans easier to store and transmit to experts who know how to read them.  With this launch, Fuse joins GE’s Innovation Network – a global, connected ecosystem of accelerators, startups, and innovators.

The creation of Fuse also serves to officially launch a new division within Local Motors called Forth. While Local Motors uses co-creation and micro-manufacturing to bring vehicles to market, Forth provides the platform and services that makes co-creation possible for clients across a variety of industries including, GE and Airbus Group.

“By fully embracing co-creation, GE has put itself at the forefront of manufacturing innovation,” said Elle Shelley, executive vice president of Forth and CMO of Local Motors. “Fuse is a shining example of the powerful outcomes we can achieve with collaboration.”

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 10:45

GE Aviation Announces Two New Factories in Alabama

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GE Aviation is creating adjacent factories in Huntsville, Alabama, to mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) for jet engines and land-based gas turbines.

GE Aviation will invest more than $200 million to construct two factories on 100 acres in Huntsville. When the factories are operational later this decade, they are expected to employ up to 300 people.

GE Aviation’s Sanjay Correa was joined by Governor Robert J. Bentley and members of the Alabama delegation at the Alabama State Capital in Montgomery to make the announcement.

“Establishing the new GE factories in Alabama is a very significant step in developing the supply chain we need in order to produce CMC components in large volume,” said Correa, Vice President, CMC Program at GE Aviation.

One plant will produce silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic fiber. It will be the first such operation in the United States. Today, the only large-scale SiC ceramic fiber factory in the world is operated by NGS Advanced Fibers in Japan, which is a joint company of Nippon Carbon, GE, and Safran of France. The adjacent GE factory in Alabama will use the SiC ceramic fiber to produce the unidirectional CMC tape necessary to fabricate CMC components.

Construction of the two plants will begin in mid-2016, with full completion by the first half of 2018. Production begins in 2018. GE has already begun hiring the technical team that will transfer to the Huntsville operation. GE expects to begin hiring the hourly workforce in late 2016.

An advanced materials revolution in jet propulsion

The use of lightweight, heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of GE jet engines is a breakthrough for the jet propulsion industry. CMCs comprise SiC ceramic fibers in a SiC matrix, enhanced by proprietary coatings.

With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce the overall engine weight. Further, their high-temperature properties greatly enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy. CMCs are far more heat resistant than metal alloys, hence requiring less cooling air in the engine’s hot section. By using this air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently.

For more than 20 years, scientists at GE’s Global Research Centers and GE’s industrial businesses have worked to develop CMCs for commercial applications. The best-selling LEAP engine, being developed by CFM International, the 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France, is the first commercial jet engine to use CMCs in the high-pressure turbine section. The LEAP engine, with more than 9,500 orders and commitments, is currently completing certification testing. It is scheduled to enter airline service next year powering the Airbus A320neo, and in 2017 powering the Boeing 737 MAX.

The Alabama plants: From ceramic fiber to ceramic tape to CMC components

Producing CMCs requires complex processing steps using a synthetically produced compound of silicon and carbon. The two GE Aviation factories being established are involved in separate steps in the process – the production of SiC ceramic fibers and the production of SiC ceramic tape. The factories:

*Ceramic Fiber Plant. Supported by funding ($21.9 million) from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab Title III Office, this plant will dramatically increase U.S. capability to produce SiC ceramic fiber capable of withstanding temperatures of 2400F.

The SiC ceramic fibers plant will license fiber-producing technology from NGS Advanced Fibers Co. in Japan, a joint company formed in 2012 with Japan’s Nippon Carbon (with 50% ownership in NGS), GE (25% ownership), and Herakles Safran France (25% ownership). NGS, which already produces SiC fibers for GE’s CMC components, is establishing a second factory in Japan to increase capacity to meet growing demand. The GE fiber plant in Huntsville will complement the growing capacity at NGS.

Once the Huntsville plant is operational, it will sell fiber to the Department of Defense, GE businesses, Herakles (Safran), and other outside customers subject to U.S. regulations. It will be the first U.S.-based factory to produce SiC ceramic fiber on a large industrial scale. The two other NGS partners will ultimately have the opportunity to become equity partners in the Huntsville plant.

This adjacent plant, financed solely by GE, will apply proprietary coatings to the ceramic fiber and form them into a matrix to produce CMC tape. The ceramic tape will be used by GE Aviation at its new CMC manufacturing site in Asheville, N.C., which opened in 2014. The Asheville facility fabricates CMC shrouds for the LEAP engine’s high-pressure turbine section.

In addition, GE’s Power and Water business is testing CMCs in its newest and most efficient, air-cooled gas turbine. At GE Power and Water’s new Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville, SC, prototype CMC components are being built to replace super alloys in large gas turbines.

Rising GE Demand for CMC Components

The demand for CMCs is expected to grow tenfold over the next decade. Each LEAP has 18 CMC turbine shrouds, which are stationary parts in the high-pressure turbine that direct air and ensure turbine blade efficiency. Also, CMCs are being used in the combustor and high-pressure turbine section of the new GE9X engine under development for the Boeing 777X twin-aisle aircraft. Almost 700 GE9X engines are on order today, with the aircraft entering service by 2020.

GE is incorporating CMC components in advanced military engines including the GE3000 for the U.S. Army. GE’s advanced turboshaft demonstrator FATE (Future Affordable Turbine Engine) also for the Army increases the use of hot-section CMCs to achieve aggressive fuel efficiency, power-to-weight ratio, and lower maintenance cost goals. CMCs are currently being evaluated for upgrades to existing engines like the highly popular T700 helicopter engine.

GE Aviation’s growing commitment to Alabama

The announcement represents GE Aviation’s second significant factory investment in Alabama in recent years. Since 2013, GE Aviation has also invested more than $100 million in a 300,000-square-foot factory in Auburn, near the storied Auburn University campus, where the company is engaged in jet engine component manufacturing (super-alloy machined parts) as well as establishing the world’s highest-volume additive manufacturing center.

Over the past year, the Auburn plant has been installing and qualifying additive manufacturing capability, including more than a dozen laser melting machines. Fuel nozzles will be the first components to be built using additive processes for the best-selling LEAP engine by CFM International. It marks the first time such a complex component will be manufactured using additive technology.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

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The GE90 engine, which was the first jet engine to utilize composite fiber polymeric material on the front fan blades 20 years ago, achieved another milestone—becoming the first GE engine to incorporate an additive manufactured component for the housing on the T25 sensor.

The U.S Federal Aviation Administration granted certification of the T25 engine sensor for the GE90-94B engine in February. The upgraded T25 sensor, located in the inlet to the high pressure compressor, is being retrofitted into more than 400 GE90-94B engines in service. The T25 sensor provides pressure and temperature measurements for the engine’s control system.

“Additive manufacturing has allowed GE engineers to quickly change the geometry through rapid prototyping and producing production parts, saving months of traditional cycle time for the T25 sensor housing without impacting the sensor’s capabilities,” said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X engine program at GE Aviation.

The T25 sensor housing is just the start of additive manufacturing at GE Aviation. Several next-generation engines currently in development will incorporate the advance manufacturing technique. On the LEAP engine for narrowbody aircraft and the GE9X for the Boeing 777X aircraft, GE Aviation will produce part of the fuel nozzles with additive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing represents a significant technology breakthrough for GE and the aviation industry. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that mill or cut away from a metal slab to produce a part, additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing) "grows" parts directly from a CAD file using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser. The result is complex, dense parts without the waste, manufactured in a fraction of the time it would take using other methods.

Additive manufacturing has many advantages. It allows GE to design parts with unique geometries that were impossible to create using traditional machining methods. These additive manufactured components can reduce part count by replacing assemblies with single parts and can be lighter than previous designs, saving weight and increasing an engine’s fuel efficiency.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet, turboprop and turboshaft engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

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Purdue University announced that GE Global Research will invest up to $10 million in a five-year partnership focused on research and development in advanced manufacturing.

The GE/Purdue Partnership in Research and Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing (GE/Purdue PRIAM) will push a new era in manufacturing, promoting technologies that enable the digitization, decentralization and democratization of manufacturing to lower cost, improve speed and drive innovation. All three trends are being driven by the increasing convergence of software and hardware that is turning today’s factories into brilliant factories that are more capable, connected and productive than ever.

Along with new technology development, GE/Purdue PRIAM will provide educational and engagement opportunities for Purdue students and GE employees to help ensure future manufacturing workforce needs are addressed.

“This collaboration opens the way for Purdue and GE to move manufacturing far into the future,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “As we do that, we’ll be giving our students the chance to be a part of this transformation, preparing them for careers on that new frontier.

“Purdue’s expertise in advanced manufacturing research and development and our long-standing relationship with GE make this partnership a natural. It is difficult to overestimate the potential benefits to Purdue and GE.”

Mark Little, GE senior vice president and chief technology officer, said, “In today’s global economy, manufacturing competitiveness starts with having the best technology and people to innovate, design and produce world-class products at the right cost and scale for our customers. We will be investing in both through our advanced manufacturing partnership with Purdue. Together, we will work to deliver the right technologies, while preparing the future manufacturing workforce to run ever faster, more productive brilliant factories.”

Little added, “Investing more in advanced manufacturing technologies will translate into bigger savings in time and money on the production side. For manufacturing operations the size of GE’s, just a 1 percent improvement in manufacturing productivity would save $500 million.”

GE and Purdue have been working together for more than 120 years. GE is the largest employer of Purdue students, with many of the company’s hires coming from the university’s engineering programs. A large number of hires also are made from the College of Technology and Krannert School of Management.

Both GE and Purdue bring a multidisciplinary approach to research and development. GE’s global team of technologists represents virtually every scientific and engineering discipline, which will pair well with the equally diverse skillsets found at Purdue.

Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships, said the partnership will be a truly multidisciplinary effort for Purdue.

“We will have faculty, staff and students from across our campus working on this initiative,” he said. “Especially for our students, the learning opportunities will be exceptional and the deeper connections to GE transformational.”

Providing more detail on the partnership’s focus on digitalization, decentralization and democratization in manufacturing, Abhijit Deshmukh, the James J. Solberg Head of Industrial Engineering and the faculty leader for GE/Purdue PRIAM, said, “Our collaboration aims to combine the latest advances in materials and manufacturing processes; multi-scale modeling of products, services and systems; and on-demand, customer-driven product and supply-chain design.”

In the area of advanced manufacturing, GE and Purdue already are partners in the U.S. government’s Digital Manufacturing Design Innovation Institute (DMDI). The DMDI is one of five manufacturing innovation institutes announced by the Obama Administration to bolster America’s leadership and competitiveness in manufacturing. The focus of DMDI is on the development of new technologies to build a digital thread that connects all parts of the manufacturing supply chain from product design to operations on the factory floor. Such a thread will enable faster, more real-time decision making in the manufacturing process and allow for feedback loops that allow for continuous improvements to be made in manufacturing processes or even product designs.

In addition to DMDI, Purdue is involved in providing skills and training support for the new jet engine assembly facility GE Aviation is building in neighboring Lafayette, Indiana. At the plant, GE Aviation will produce its new LEAP engine. The intensified focus in advanced manufacturing through this new partnership will greatly enhance these ongoing efforts. Construction on jet enginer assembly facility, being built near Veterans Memorial Parkway and U.S. 52 southeast of Lafayette, began in July. Production is expected to begin in 2016.

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GE today announced that it will build a new manufacturing facility to drive innovation and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies across GE. The new facility represents a $32M investment over three years by the company and will result in the creation of 50 high-tech engineering jobs initially, in disciplines ranging from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering. These technologists will join GE’s global network of 50,000 world-class scientists, engineers, and skilled labor who are working to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.

The new facility reflects GE’s belief that the intersection of technology and manufacturing – marrying hardware with software – is bringing a new era of manufacturing. Advanced Manufacturing is about making things better and faster for customers. It includes new digital fabrication technology, lean manufacturing methods and rapid-prototyping, advanced materials sciences, supply chain efficiency and open innovation. The facility will focus on improving capabilities and usage of additive manufacturing across GE while advancing materials sciences and inspection technologies.

Dan Heintzelman, GE vice chairman said, “Advanced manufacturing is driving a profound change in industry and at GE. It is how we will compete and win in the future. We can more efficiently invent and build products for our customers, while driving better margins for our investors. This new facility is crucial for bringing advanced manufacturing technology to all our businesses.”

Pennsylvania is already home to more than 8,500 GE employees with significant presence from GE’s Transportation, Power & Water, Oil & Gas and Energy Management business. The site will be located outside of Pittsburgh in Findlay Township, PA to capitalize on the renowned academic institutions and skilled workforce in the area. Construction is expected to begin in March 2015 to be completed by September 2015.

Governor Tom Corbett said, “By integrating education, workforce training and technology, we are cultivating a renaissance in Pennsylvania manufacturing. I am proud of the economic environment we have created to encourage global companies like GE to invest in our future and in our skilled and talented workers. The 50 high-tech jobs GE is creating with this project is terrific news for hard working families in southwest Pennsylvania.”

This facility represents another major GE investment in U.S. manufacturing technology. In the past two years alone, GE has established new Advanced Manufacturing locations for GE Power & Water in Greenville, SC; GE Aviation in Asheville, North Carolina; and GE Oil & Gas in Jacksonville, FL; while expanding work in GE Aviation in Auburn, AL and improving manufacturing at GE Aviation in Rutland, Vermont.

Changing GE manufacturing is seeing financial results. In Rutland, Vermont a $75 million investment to expand the site to allow GE Aviation to use advanced materials has led to more than $300 million in engine production savings. Next year in Auburn, AL, mass production begins on the complex interiors of fuel nozzles for the next-generation LEAP jet engine being developed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and France’s Snecma (Safran). Each engine has 20 nozzles (produced by Advanced Atomization Technologies, a GE and Parker Aerospace joint venture) with GE’s special 3D-printed interiors to make the engine more durable, lighter, and fuel efficient.  3D printing allows GE to make the nozzle interiors as one part rather than 20 individual parts, reducing the number of brazes and welds required using traditional methods.

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GE Aviation, a global leader in jet engines and aircraft systems, announced that it will break ground this year on a new $100 million jet engine assembly facility in neighboring Lafayette, Indiana.

It becomes the seventh new GE Aviation facility in the U.S. in the past seven years – joining sites in Batesville, MS; Auburn, AL; Greenville, SC; Dayton, Ohio; Ellisville, MS; and Asheville, NC. These facilities support more than 2,500 new U.S. jobs and investment in more than 1 million square feet of new facilities. Between 2013 and 2017, GE Aviation expects to invest more than $3.5 billion in plant and equipment at its sites worldwide, with most of the investment in the U.S.

The new 225,000-square-foot facility in Lafayette will assemble the new LEAP engine of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. CFM has logged total orders and commitments with airlines for more than 6,000 LEAP jet engines – and it does not enter service until 2016. It will power new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft for airlines worldwide.

Launched in 2008, the LEAP is now undergoing development testing. As the engine transitions to the production phase, GE could begin hiring at the new Lafayette facility as early as 2015. Within five years, the plant's workforce is expected to exceed 200 people with the capacity to do final assembly for the engine as well as the engine's hot section (compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine).

"We are thrilled by the airline industry's enthusiasm for the new LEAP engine and its groundbreaking technologies," said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Beginning in 2015, the LEAP engine will experience a dramatic production ramp-up for the remainder of the decade. We are grateful to the entire Indiana team for ensuring that our Lafayette assembly plant will be soon up and running."

"With a nod to our past and an eye on our future, Indiana is a manufacturing state, with decades of experience in building the items that power our world. But we are also a state of innovation, developing the technologies of tomorrow." said Indiana Governor Mike Pence. "GE Aviation's plans in Indiana fuse the two. By selecting Indiana for its new jet engine facility, the company gains a workforce skilled at both developing the big ideas and bringing them to life."

Strong State of Indiana and Purdue University collaboration

Final assembly of the LEAP engine at the Lafayette facility will involve using components and sub-assemblies from GE and Snecma operations and from their suppliers around the world. The LEAP engine will also be assembled at GE's existing engine assembly plant in Durham, North Carolina.

The Lafayette facility will operate a highly advanced assembly line incorporating several new technologies, including automated vision inspection systems and radio frequency parts management to easily spot parts on the shop floor. GE worked closely with the state of Indiana to secure the Lafayette location. The state of Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the city of Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County have provided technical support and incentives to ensure a smooth and successful start-up. To prepare for the new factory, GE will work with Ivy Tech at Lafayette for skills and training support.

The plant will be minutes from Purdue University in West Lafayette, which has a long history of collaboration with GE Aviation and its parent, General Electric Co. GE employs more than 1,200 Purdue University alumni, including more than 400 at GE Aviation. Over the past five years, GE has financed more than $2.5 million in research and development projects at Purdue.

GE Aviation leadership has met with Purdue officials to explore opportunities that will closely align the university to the new Lafayette facility. Purdue University is widely recognized as a leader in manufacturing technology, and GE intends to use the new facility as a catalyst for identifying talent and research capability.

"Purdue and GE are continuing to build a broad and strong collaboration in both research and talent recruitment," said Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University. "In today's world, a strong research university is the best economic magnet a state can have, and today's announcement is a perfect example of that principle in action."

GE Aviation's Long-term Growth Outlook

The Lafayette facility reflects the growth at GE Aviation. Jet engine deliveries for GE Aviation and its partner companies (including CFM International) are slated to grow from 2,442 jet engines in 2013 to about 2,850 in 2016.

GE Aviation and its partner companies have the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE and its partner companies have about 34,000 commercial jet engines in service, and that will grow to 41,000 engines by 2020. GE Aviation employs approximately 44,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities worldwide.

By the end of 2013, GE Aviation's multi-year backlog for equipment and services reached $125 billion, more than a 20 percent growth in one year. In addition to its seven new facilities over the past seven years, GE Aviation is making significant investments in its existing operations across the U.S., including investments of more than $350 million since 2012 in its southern Ohio operations in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Peebles.

Technologies in the CFM International LEAP engine

The CFM LEAP engine to be assembled in Lafayette will be among the world's most advanced jet engines, with carbon fiber composite fan blades and fan case (from Snecma), the latest thermodynamic design, higher bypass and compression ratios, advanced 3-D aerodynamic design and greater use of advanced materials. The engine is targeted for a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to its predecessor, double-digit improvement in noise and emissions, and the lowest overall cost of ownership in the industry. Other technology features of the LEAP engine:

Additive manufacturing

At its Cincinnati operation, GE Aviation is using a technology called direct metal laser melting (DMLM) to manufacture LEAP fuel nozzles directly from computer-aided design (CAD) files. The process actually "grows" parts, layer by layer, using metal powder and a high-powered fiber laser. The part maintains the same material properties and density as a traditionally manufactured piece, but the process allows for much more complex geometries than were possible in the past. The resulting part is 25 percent lighter than previous nozzles and five times stronger.

Advanced materials

The LEAP will be the first commercial jet engine with ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components in the hot section, representing a significant technology breakthrough for GE and the jet propulsion industry. CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic resin, manufactured through a highly sophisticated process and further enhanced with proprietary coatings. GE views CMCs as a differentiator for its next-generation aircraft engines. The ultra-lightweight CMC material supports extremely high temperatures in the high-pressure turbine. CMC benefits include: reduced weight, enhanced performance and improved durability that provides longer time on wing, translating into lower fuel and maintenance costs for customers.

GE Aviation invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion research and development programs. This long tradition of commitment to new technology has helped GE maintains its leadership position within the industry with a proud list of "firsts" in both military and commercial jet propulsion, tracing back to 1942 with America's first jet engine. GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

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A potential “fountain of youth” for metal, GE (NYSE:GE) researchers announced the use of a process called “cold spray,” in which metal powders are sprayed at high velocities to build a part or add material to repair an existing part. Cold spray is part of GE’s expanded additive manufacturing toolkit.

Anteneh Kebbede, Manager of the Coating and Surface Technologies Lab at the GE Research Center said, “In addition to being able to build new parts without welding or machining, what’s particularly exciting about cold spray as an innovative, 3D process is that it affords us the opportunity to restore parts using materials that blend in and mirror the properties of the original part itself. This extends the lifespan of parts by years, or possibly by decades, ultimately providing improved customer value.”

Spray technologies are particularly attractive for the production of large structures, which are challenging for today’s powder-bed additive manufacturing processes due to equipment size limitations. The cold spray technique has the potential to scale up to build larger parts, with the only limitation being the size of the area over which metal powders can be applied.

Cold spray—also known as 3D painting—demonstrates a unique marriage of materials, process, and product function which can, in the immediate future, transform repair processes for industrial and aircraft components such as rotors, blades, shafts, propellers, and gear boxes. Since cold spray does not require heat, like common repair processes such as welding, it allows a repaired part to be restored close to its original condition. In GE’s Oil and Gas business, GE researchers are exploring cold spray as an alternate way to repair or coat parts involved in oil and gas drilling and turbo machinery.

Cold spray’s future benefits include extended product lifespan and reduced manufacturing time and material costs, all of which translate into significant customer benefits.

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GE (NYSE:GE) and Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) announced GE Garages, a skill-building center that serves as an advanced manufacturing fab lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and makers. Opening on September 20, the GE Garages space will host a month of free hands-on maker workshops, conduct trainings on high-tech prototyping equipment and offer learning opportunities through a curated guest speaker series.

Powered by TechShop and developed in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables, GE Garages aims to spark interest and greater participation in advanced manufacturing through making. The GE Garages location will also function as the headquarters for Chicago Ideas Week, a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders and an innovation platform that inspires, connects and activates the city of Chicago and beyond.

Linda Boff, Global Brand Marketing Executive Director, GE said, “The next industrial revolution is occurring all around us, driven by innovations in technology and manufacturing. There’s something for everyone to discover at GE Garages. Within the Midwest, Chicago Ideas Week is a critical driver of this evolution, providing a forum for inventors, manufacturers and innovative entrepreneurs to gather and collaborate.”

GE Garages guest speakers will include Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project and an open-source hardware advocate who works with clients such as Prada, Whirlpool and Adidas; Edward Ford, founder of Project ShapeOko; and Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables, among many more. Weekly hands-on classes will offer participants access to 3D printers, Arduino kits, CNC mills, a laser cutter, and an injection molder, while workshops will include instruction in how to design digitally manufactured lamps, brilliant homes, “weather clocks,” and other brilliant technologies.

Jessica Malkin, Executive Director, Chicago Ideas Week said “CIW Headquarters will truly be a hub for new ideas and innovation for the city. With free access to some of the most insightful entrepreneurs, data scientists and software and industrial engineers at GE Garages, Chicagoland locals and CIW attendees alike have a unique chance to experience the advanced manufacturing revolution first-hand and take part in Ideas Week.”

Over the past two years, GE has invested heavily in the Chicago area, which hosts many of the company’s businesses, including Transportation’s headquarters, Capital and Health IT, increasing its Chicago-based employees by 33 percent. GE’s operations have also created an economic impact of nearly $3 billion throughout the city over that period of time. GE has also contributed more than $4.5 million annually to the Chicago area through grants, volunteerism, company donations, and employee charitable contributions. Statewide, GE supports one in 385 Illinois jobs and creates an economic impact of $4.45 billion.

Located at 401 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, GE Garages will be open to the public from September 20 through October 20, Tuesdays through Sundays.

For a full schedule of workshops, hands-on training and speaker sessions, visit:

General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced that it is launching two global additive manufacturing quests that invite entrepreneurs, companies and institutions to offer their solutions to both challenges: a 3D Printing Design Quest for technologies used in healthcare and a 3D Printing Production Quest for an aircraft engine bracket.

Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, GE Global Research Center said, “GE is committed to leading the next manufacturing revolution through innovative hardware, material and process advancements. This revolution depends on collaboration with external innovators and partners. These Quests will help us to convene and engage this community in meaningful ways and ultimately build an additive manufacturing ecosystem that scales the industry to new heights.”

Additive manufacturing is a key part of the advanced manufacturing revolution. GE has already reduced production times by up to 25% and achieved cost savings without sacrificing performance by putting additive technologies to work on an industrial scale. Continued external collaboration with fabrication leaders will accelerate the application of these technologies to further increase the speed and quality of innovation.

The additive manufacturing quests, which leverage GE’s prior successful Flight and Hospital quests in a new space, are launching with partners GrabCAD and NineSigma. Both are open to the public. The first phase of both quests will be open from June 11, 2013 to July 26, 2013.

3D Printing Design Quest

  • The design quest tasks participants to create the best 3D-printable design for an aircraft engine bracket.
  • The top ten designs from the first phase will win $1,000 each and will be additively manufactured and tested by GE during phase two.
  • The top 8 designs in the second phase will be awarded from a total prize pool of $20,000.
  • GE has partnered with GrabCAD to launch the design quest. During the quest, GrabCAD’s online community of more than 650,000 global engineers will have a chance to submit their CAD design solutions to a panel including some of GE’s brightest engineers.
  • See Official Rules for details. Contest opens on June 11, 2013. Must submit at least one entry by July 26, 2013 to be eligible for phase two. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

3D Printing Production Quest: High Precision and Advanced Manufacturing

  • This quest asks participants to use 3-D printing technology to produce highly precise and complex parts with high precision. Such parts will have potential application in medical imaging and a broad spectrum of other GE businesses.
  • An objective of this quest is to broaden GE’s supplier network of high-end 3D fabricators with sophisticated production capabilities.
  • Up to ten winners from the first phase will be awarded $5,000 and invited to participate in the second phase, which includes prototype fabrication with specified materials. Up to three winning prototypes will be awarded $50,000 each.
  • GE has partnered with Nine Sigma to launch the production quest.
  • This open innovation quest will be judged and tested by industry experts in fields of additive manufacturing and engineering.
  • See Official Rules for details. Contest opens on June 11, 2013. Must submit at least one entry by July 26, 2013 to be eligible for phase two. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

Combining GE’s technology and scale with GrabCAD and NineSigma’s communities of innovators and open innovation platforms will inspire and facilitate the creative collaboration needed to generate new solutions to some of the toughest additive manufacturing challenges.

For more information or to register, visit:

Friday, 12 April 2013 10:45

GE and Quirky Partner to Inspire Invention

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GE (NYSE: GE) and Quirky, the company that makes invention accessible, announced a new partnership that will allow everyone to participate in the development of new products with two global leaders in invention and innovation.

The partnership will consist of two parts: a groundbreaking new platform where GE will open thousands of its most promising patents and new technologies to the Quirky community for the development of new consumer products; and a co-branded product development initiative to build a full line of app-enabled connected devices for the home in areas such as health, security, water or air that will be developed using advanced manufacturing tools and technologies. This new line of products will be co-branded Wink: Instantly Connected.

Combining GE's technology and scale with Quirky's collaborative process and speed provides a platform that will truly unlock the power of GE's lab-proven technologies and the potential of the app-enabled product category.  The partnership represents a marriage between what GE has dubbed the "Industrial Internet" or the internet of really big things -- with the internet of everyday things. Consumers and business will not buy more things they'll need to think about, but rather be surrounded by things that think about them.

Beth Comstock, SVP and chief marketing officer, GE, said, "We admire Quirky's speed, collaboration and inventiveness and by opening up lab-proven technology and patents to everyday inventors we can help inspire new ideas and accelerate advanced manufacturing innovation. At GE we are passionate about innovation at market speed, working with entrepreneurs and finding new models of business, and this partnership is just another way we can help inspire invention and help scale it. We are excited to see how the Quirky community uses tools from our scientists and technologists around the world to develop products in an entirely different way."

GE Patents & the Quirky Community

In May, GE will make thousands of U.S. patents available to the global Quirky community, which may be used as the basis for creating new consumer product ideas. Quirky will develop a new platform designed to inspire inventors to find new and unexpected uses for existing technologies.

Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky, said, "Thousands of patents from one of the most inventive companies in the world will be available to provoke, inspire and drive a whole new way of thinking. For years patents have become widely misunderstood and misused. We are going to return patents to their original purpose to act as a blueprint for technological and societal progress while protecting inventors and becoming a source of inspiration for future creators."

Some of the first technologies that GE will open up include optical systems, dual cooling jets and barrier coating:

  • Optical systems, including holographic and fast-focusing lens technologies - GE's holographic storage technology can be used for archiving large amounts of data and fast-focusing optics technology enables rapid, high resolution 2D image capture of 3D images, currently applicable to markets ranging from contactless fingerprinting, to semi-conductor quality control and medical optics.
  • Barrier coatings — GE's Ultra-High Barrier technology enables thinner, lighter electronic devices including smartphones, televisions and solar panels by using thin film encapsulation to protect electronic devices from degradation by moisture and oxygen.
  • Telematics and asset tracking technology -  Modules used for commercial fleet tracking and vehicle navigation systems, which are used to monitor the location, movement, and behavior of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles.

This is good news for innovators, consumers, and our country," said David Kappos, partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. "There is tremendous value in patented ideas, and it is wonderful to see new collaborative ventures aimed at moving such ideas into the marketplace."

GE & Quirky Co-Branded Product Development Initiative

GE & Quirky have come together to co-develop a full line of app-enabled products that will allow you to instantly connect to the things that matter. Today, creative people worldwide are invited to submit ideas and help in the creation of an entirely new product line. GE and Quirky will review the first round of product ideas during a special product evaluation on April 17th, 2013. The companies and experts in the Quirky community will continue to review ideas as part of the ongoing partnership and regular Quirky review process. The new line of products — "Wink: Instantly Connected" — will be developed by Quirky and distributed to top retailers.

"This is one of the most exciting new categories in consumer products. Our future will be driven by access to things via our smartphones. There is a ton of invention to be done in this area and no one owns this category," Kaufman added.

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Friday, 21 December 2012 10:13

GE to Acquire Aviation Business of Avio S.p.A

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GE announced today that it has agreed to purchase the aviation business of Avio S.p.A., an Italy-based manufacturer of aviation propulsion components and systems for civil and military aircraft, for $4.3 billion U.S. (€3.3 billion).

The announcement was made in Milan, Italy, by David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, and Nani Beccalli, president and CEO of GE Europe.

GE plans to acquire Avio’s aviation business from Cinven, a leading European private equity firm that has owned Avio since 2006, and Finmeccanica, the Italian aerospace group. The transaction is subject to regulatory and governmental approvals. GE will not be purchasing Avio’s space unit.

The acquisition of Avio’s aviation business, which provides components for GE Aviation and other engine companies, would further GE’s participation in jet propulsion, one of the most attractive sectors of the aviation industry.

Avio will strengthen GE’s global supply chain capabilities as its engine production rates continue to rise to meet growing customer demand. Avio and its customers will benefit from GE’s planned investment in expanding Avio’s products and services. Additionally, GE sees excellent opportunity in the acquisition of Avio related to margin expansion.

Founded in 1908 and headquartered in Turin, Italy, Avio operates in four continents and employs about 5,300 people, 4,500 of whom are in Italy, including approximately 800 in the space unit. In the jet propulsion industry, Avio is a provider of low-pressure turbine systems, accessory gearboxes, geared systems, combustors and other components. Avio's 2011 revenues in the aviation sector were €1.7 billion ($2.4 billion U.S. dollars) with more than 50 percent of that revenue derived from components for GE and GE joint venture engines.

The purchase price to be paid by GE for Avio’s aviation business represents a multiple of approximately 8.5x based on 2012 estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Avio has supplied components to GE Aviation since 1984 and has content on engines ranging from the large GE90 and GEnx turbofan engines for the commercial aircraft sector, to the smaller CT7/T700 turboshaft engine family for civil and military helicopters. These GE engines are among the best-selling in aviation and are expected to provide a profitable, long-term revenue stream for the company.

This acquisition will create additional opportunities to offer Avio’s products and services beyond the aviation industry. GE plans to pursue new opportunities for Avio in power-generation, oil, and marine products. For example, Avio’s capabilities in transmission systems present potential growth opportunities in multiple sectors.

“We look forward to Avio joining the GE family,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “We have worked closely with Avio for decades, and we anticipate a bright future together. This acquisition is a great strategic fit with our existing portfolio. Avio has technologies, capabilities and outstanding engineers to help grow our business. GE is an excellent corporate citizen in Italy, and we are very excited to grow the relationship.”

“The deal with General Electric is a recognition of Avio’s competencies, technologies and growth record,” said Francesco Caio, CEO of Avio. “It lays the foundations for the next phase of development for our company and will enable our teams and plants to become centers of excellence in transmissions and turbines for one of the leading companies in this field. This will open up many new opportunities for our people, our research centres and manufacturing in Italy. Our space division, which will not see a change of ownership in the short term, enters a new phase. Cinven and Finmeccanica will work together to establish the most appropriate set of industrial alliances to ensure long-term competitiveness and compliance with national and European interests.”

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Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:59

Call for Entries: GE Edison Award Competition

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GE Lighting announces a call for entries for its 30th annual GE Edison Award competition, recognizing excellence and quality in professional lighting designs that employ the significant use of GE lighting products.

A Web-based entry submittal process has been developed to replace the former hard-copy process. Online entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on January 7, 2013. To submit a project, applicants should go to the GE Edison Award website for full details.

The competition is open to professional designers, architects, engineers and consultants for projects completed during the 2012 calendar year. Online entries are judged on the following criteria: functional excellence; architectural compatibility; effective use of state-of-the-art lighting products and techniques; appropriate color, form and texture revelation; energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Projects scoring the highest number of points will qualify to receive either Awards of Merit or Awards of Excellence. The GE Edison Award Winner is selected from among the Awards of Excellence.

In addition to these distinctions, an Award for Residential Lighting Design is presented to the project that best exemplifies excellence in lighting design within a residential application, using the same criteria as the other award categories. For this category, judges are looking for designs with innovative application(s) of light and the creative integration of lighting layers and controls.

The Award for Environmental Design gives special recognition to projects that minimize the use of energy, maximize the use of daylighting, control light pollution, and ensure system durability and maintainability.

All qualifying entrants will be invited to an awards ceremony, which will take place Monday, April 22, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on the evening prior to the opening of LightFair International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference. At that time, all winners will be recognized with personalized plaques acknowledging their lighting design achievements.

The identity of the 2012 GE Edison Award Winner will remain confidential until announced at the awards ceremony. The winner will receive a personalized Steuben crystal trophy and continued publicity throughout the following year. A distinctive plaque also will be presented to the owner of the winning installation.

All lighting projects submitted for award consideration must have been completed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 and must employ significant use of GE Lighting Products.

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GE Aviation has acquired the assets of Morris Technologies, and its sister company, Rapid Quality Manufacturing, precision manufacturing companies operating in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio.  Terms were not disclosed.

The two privately-held companies, with about 130 Cincinnati-area employees, specialize in additive manufacturing, an automated process for creating rapid prototypes and end-use production components.

With this acquisition, GE Aviation continues to expand its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to meet its growing jet engine production rates over the next five years. In addition to acquiring these manufacturing processes, GE Aviation will open two new production plants in the United States next year.

"Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing are parts of our investment in emerging manufacturing technologies," said Colleen Athans, vice president and general manager of the Supply Chain Division at GE Aviation.  "Our ability to develop state-of-the-art manufacturing processes for emerging materials and complex design geometry is critical to our future.  We are so fortunate to have Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing just minutes from our headquarters.  We know them well."

The additive manufacturing process involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part.  The process creates the layered cross-sections using a laser beam to melt the raw material. These parts tend to be lighter than traditional forged parts because they don't require the same level of welding.  Additive manufacturing also generates less scrap material during the fabrication process.

Founded by Cincinnati natives Greg Morris, Wendell Morris and Bill Noack in 1994, Morris Technologies (Sharonville) and Rapid Quality Manufacturing (West Chester) have supplied parts to GE Aviation for several years, as well as to GE Power Systems and our Global Research Center. The companies have made everything from lightweight parts for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the U.S. military to hip replacement prototypes for the medical field.  The Sharonville and West Chester facilities will become part of GE Aviation's global network of manufacturing operations.

Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing have already been contracted by GE Aviation to produce components for the best-selling LEAP jet engine being developed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (SAFRAN) of France.  The LEAP engine, which is scheduled to enter service in the middle of this decade on three different narrow-body aircraft, has already received more than 4,000 engine orders before the first full engine has even gone to test.

Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing focus on the aerospace, energy, oil & gas, and medical industries.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components, and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

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GE (NYSE: GE) today released its 2011 ecomagination progress report, announcing that the initiative has reached more than $105 billion in sales and services since its launch in 2005. For the year, GE generated $21 billion in revenues from ecomagination products and services and invested more than $2 billion in research and development, continuing progress toward the company’s goal of a $10 billion cumulative investment from 2010 to 2015.

Thirty four new products and services were added to the ecomagination portfolio in 2011, including:

  • The FlexEfficiency* 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant, a first-of-its-kind power plant engineered to deliver a new standard for flexibility and efficiency. The technology enables the integration of power from a variety of sources, including solar and wind.

  • The Waukesha 275GL+ natural gas engine, which produces lower greenhouse gas emissions relative to comparable natural gas engines. In one application, a 16V Waukesha 275GL+ engine operating at the same horsepower as a competitive engine can avoid more than 1,900 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of more than 380 cars on U.S. roads.

  • GE’s RailEdge Movement Planner® software technology that helps railroad customers move freight faster and smarter. In one example, a customer increased average train velocity in a segment of its network by 10 percent. If used throughout the network, it could help avoid the consumption of 37 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of approximately 73,000 cars on U.S. roads.

  • GE also introduced its first two ecomagination-qualified solutions – the fleet electrification solution and the ecomagination Kitchen, a suite of products that can help to reduce kitchen electricity use by up to 20 percent.

“In a volatile world where the global population is increasing and governments are under financial pressure, ecomagination is a path forward,” said Mark Vachon, vice president of ecomagination, GE. “The results we have generated through ecomagination prove we are delivering to our customers what they need most. Whether they are countries, municipalities, companies or individuals, ecomagination is about resource efficiency and increased productivity – ecomagination offers great economics.”

Reinforcing its commitment to open innovation, to date, GE and its venture capital partners have invested $134 million in GE’s ecomagination Challenge winners. In 2011, the company launched a regional Challenge in China where it committed $100 million to find and fund the best gas-powered energy applications. Since its launch, the Challenge has produced 22 new commercial partnerships, including energy efficient building maker, Project Frog and SynapSense, makers of wireless sensor technology and software that reduces electricity consumption in data centers. All have the potential to transform markets and radically increase resource efficiency.

The report also highlights GE’s industry-leading operational rigor, which resulted in further greenhouse gas and water use reductions. Greenhouse gas emissions were lowered 29 percent as compared with an adjusted 2004 baseline. Similarly, fresh water use was reduced 35 percent from the 2006 adjusted baseline.

The 2011 ecomagination progress report provides an update on the advancements GE has made against its five ecomagination commitments, which include:

  • Double investment in clean-tech research and development: GE reinforced its commitment to investing in the future, deploying $2.3 billion in ecomagination R&D. With a total R&D investment of more than $4 billion in 2010 and 2011, the company is on track toward its goal of a $10 billion cumulative investment from 2010 to 2015.

  • Increase revenues from ecomagination products: In 2010, GE set an ambitious goal of growing ecomagination revenues at twice the rate of total company revenue in the next five years. With 34 new products and services generating $21 billion –ecomagination revenue continues to grow at twice the rate of total company revenues.

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the energy efficiency of operations: In 2011, GE energy use was lowered to 48.17 million MMBtu, a reduction of 19 percent from the adjusted 2004 baseline. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions were lowered to 5.09 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents, a reduction of 29 percent from the adjusted 2004 baseline.

  • Reduce water use and improve water reuse: Total fresh water use was 9.1 billion gallons, a 35 percent reduction from the 2006 baseline, and a 13.5 percent decrease from 2010.

  • Keep the public informed: GE is committed to keeping our customers, stakeholders and communities informed and engaged.

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GE (NYSE: GE) announced that it will add 300 new jobs in the state of Michigan at its Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center (AMSTC) in Van Buren Township. These high value information technology (IT) and research jobs bring the total commitment to 1,400 at the center and 1,600 across the state.

GE also announced today that it will expand by 25 percent its summer internships and co-ops for college students at the AMSTC and at several of its GE Aviation locations in Michigan. GE in the process of hiring about 110 students for summer assignments in engineering, IT, finance and supply chain operations.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, “When we opened our new IT and research center in 2009, we knew that in Michigan we had a partner who was not only resilient but ready to lead in the areas of advanced manufacturing and information technology. This community has delivered, and that’s why GE is adding more jobs at our center. With its highly-skilled workers, outstanding universities and willingness to partner with business, Michigan provides a recovery blueprint for other manufacturing communities.”

GE has a strong presence throughout the state, with over 3,000 employees and 4,000 retirees living in Van Buren Township, Muskegon, Kentwood, Livonia, Grand Rapids, St. Joseph, and Southfield. Employment will reach about 3,800 in the next few years.

“This commitment is not only a win for Michigan, but the nation as well,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “GE and Michigan have a proud partnership, and are working to renew and strengthen our country's global competitiveness through innovation and manufacturing. The cutting-edge work that is taking place, as we continue the reinvention of Michigan, shows we mean business.”

In 2009, GE had announced that it would develop the AMSTC and create 1,100 jobs at the site. Since the announcement, GE has hired nearly 850 experienced engineers and IT professionals at the AMSTC – roughly 90 percent of whom are from Michigan. The AMSTC has grown to occupy roughly one-third of Grace Lake Corporate Center (formerly known as Visteon Village). These new jobs will build on GE’s recent $163 million investment in the Detroit area, and focus on bringing together IT experts in software development, data architecture, business intelligence, and program management, as well as researchers developing future manufacturing technologies for the next generation of aircraft engines.

“We are very pleased with the talent we have seen thus far and the success we are experiencing at the Center. When looking for opportunities to continue to grow, Michigan was an easy choice,” said Charlene Begley, President and CEO of GE Home & Business Solutions and Senior Vice President and CIO for GE. “The exceptional number of talented, experienced professionals – coupled with the state’s strong advanced technology manufacturing capabilities will help both GE and Michigan compete and win.”

Today’s announcement is part of a three-year trend of GE investing in technology centers in cities across the country. In Glen Allen, Virginia, GE opened the Information Security Technology Center that will house 200 high-tech IT security professionals. In San Ramon, California, GE’s Global Software Center will hire 400 software professionals focused on increasing the pace of innovation, collaboration and commercialization of new technologies. In New Orleans, Louisiana, GE’s Technology Center will hire 300 IT professionals focused on developing innovative new software, processes and technologies to drive excellence for its financial services business, GE Capital.

GE also is investing in U.S. manufacturing. Over the last three years, GE has announced the creation of more than 14,100 new U.S. jobs and is building or refurbishing 16 U.S. factories.

In May 2010, GE announced the creation of 220 additional high-tech manufacturing jobs to support growth in next generation technologies that improve the fuel efficiency of current and future jet engines. Since that announcement, GE has hired nearly 160 employees.

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GE (NYSE: GE), with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA), are embarking on a program “” to revolutionize modern-day design and manufacturing. The goal of the program is to develop a crowdsourcing platform that would enable a global community of experts to design and rapidly manufacture complex systems such as military vehicles, aviation systems and advanced medical devices. These “cyber-physical systems” can take decades to develop. The primary goal of this program is to dramatically reduce that timeline.

GE and MIT are working to build and demonstrate a crowdsourcing platform to support DARPA’s ongoing Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) portfolio. Through this platform, DARPA is looking to attract breakthrough ideas and concepts that could revolutionize the design and manufacture of military vehicles and other complex defense systems.

The new crowdsourcing platform is a key part of GE’s efforts to build the Industrial Internet. It will connect data, design tools and simulations in a collaborative environment to accelerate the design of highly complex industrial systems.

Joseph Salvo, Manager of the Business Integration Technologies Lab at GE Global Research, said, “The development of new collaborative software architectures is changing the manufacturing paradigm to a more dynamic and distributed model. New crowdsourcing platforms will enable parties with specialized knowledge to securely interact with a global community of experts on the Industrial Internet, resulting in the creation of better, more robust product designs in a much shorter period of time.”

GE recently announced an aggressive expansion of its software programs to harness big data and take industrial product development to the next level. The company has opened a global software headquarters in San Ramon, California, which will employ 400 new software professionals to support these efforts across GE’s business portfolio.

The CEED Platform

Scientists and engineers from GE Global Research and MIT will develop a “crowd-driven ecosystem for evolutionary design” – CEED for the program. This ecosystem will create an open, virtual collaborative environment where experts and others can team up on projects and freely share, re-use, re-mix or build on design sources shared by others. These designs can then continue to evolve through a series of iterative design loops that can be tested and vetted with the crowd.

Qing Cao, Principal Investigator from GE Global Research said, “Developers from different spaces will be able to form design communities and create a common project space. This space will allow them to manage processes as a team and track changes and updates on their project. Furthermore, the CEED platform will provide a marketplace where contributors can choose to expose their ideas to the public either as open source or as IP protected services.”

David Wallace, the Co-PI and MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor said, “The CEED service marketplace is based on the MIT DOME (Distributed Object-based Modeling Environment) concept. DOME is an Internet-based computing infrastructure to empower users to publish their geometric design, CAE, manufacturing, or marketing capabilities as live services that are operable over the Internet. The design teams can rapidly create integrated design models using these services in a spontaneous, ad-hoc manner, allowing them to focus on developing and analyzing design scenarios rather than being constrained by a rigidly defined integrated design environment, which we think is critical to user-driven design synthesis in the crowd sourcing context.”

The exposed design models, or models available for review in this open community, will experience market pressures that ultimately allow for the best designs to emerge. This will mirror how designs get vetted in the open market today, only faster.

The CEED platform will embed social media connections to maximize crowd engagement. When completed, the software developed under the contract will be open-sourced and used to support portions of This is scheduled to occur in the fall of 2012.

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Scientists at GE Global Research are back in the holiday spirit. As an encore to the redesign of Santa’s sleigh and construction of a state-of-the-art “Toy Lab” for Santa and the elves, researchers are bringing high-tech manufacturing to Christmas tree decorations to ring in the holiday season using additive manufacturing techniques.

Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, is the practice of building up material to directly form a net-shape product rather than forming a product by traditional methods such as forging, casting or machining material away. For GE, it is providing new degrees of product design freedom and the opportunity to reduce the time, cost and use of materials that go into making our products.

The 3-D printing process is highlighted in the video shown below. Juan Pablo Cilia, a Rapid Prototyping Specialist at GE Global Research, takes you through the entire process step-by-step from his initial design drawings on the whiteboard to a computer-aided design (CAD) that is the blueprint used to print the ornament itself. In addition, you will see the actual printing of the ornament in action.

“3-D printing techniques are creating beautiful ornaments that would not be possible using traditional manufacturing methods. It’s beginning to look a lot like a ‘3-D’ Christmas,” said Prabhjot Singh, Manager of GE’s Additive Manufacturing Lab. “

“The 3-D Christmas ornaments represent a creative way to showcase the possibilities in additive manufacturing to achieve revolutionary new product designs. At GE, Juan Pablo and members of my team see tremendous opportunities to use these processes to transform and improve the products we make from commercial aircraft engines to medical imaging systems.”

GE already is producing intricately designed parts and components for aircraft engines using additive technologies and has an innovative program in healthcare to simplify and reduce the cost of how ultrasound probes are made. Members of the Additive Manufacturing Lab are exploring new frontiers to expand the application of 3-D printing techniques across GE’s business portfolio.

Singh said, “As 2012 rapidly approaches, members of GE’s Additive Manufacturing Lab are looking forward to a very active year ahead. We will be hosting a technology summit on Additive Manufacturing, bringing in key stakeholders and thought leaders from industry, academia and government to discuss the future of this emerging manufacturing trend. We have only just begun to tap into its vast potential.”

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Positioning itself to meet the growing demand for industrial and infrastructure inspection technology solutions worldwide, GE (NYSE: GE) today announced it is investing more than $10 million to expand its Inspection Technologies headquarters site in Lewistown, Pa. Key features of the expansion project include a new global customer applications center as well as a nondestructive testing (NDT) academy for GE employees and customers.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson and Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman, whose respective legislative districts include GE’s Lewistown facility, joined local officials as well as GE executives and the plant’s workforce for a ground-breaking ceremony at the site today.

GE’s current 82,000 square-foot facility employs more than 230 people in the production of NDT inspection tools used by companies in the oil and gas, power generation, metals manufacturing, automotive and aerospace sectors. GE’s Inspection Technologies business is continuing to grow as more industrial operators embrace the use of NDT solutions to monitor the condition of their equipment and more accurately predict when certain components might need repair or replacement—thus helping them to avoid costly, unplanned maintenance outages.

GE’s 52,000-square-foot expansion project will increase the facility’s floor space by more than 63 percent and is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

“Our new expansion will allow us to proceed with our ambitious plans for our Customer Applications Center and NDT Academy while providing us with the extra space we need to upgrade our manufacturing capabilities,” said Jeff Anderson, senior executive, product management for GE’s Inspection Technologies business.

The expansion will enable GE to maintain its position as a leader in developing and manufacturing a wide range of remote visual inspection, ultrasonic, electromagnetic, advanced radiography and computed tomography systems as well as data management software. These NDT systems are used to help extend the life of industrial assets in the oil and gas, power generation, metals manufacturing, automotive and aerospace sectors by providing timely, quality assessments of equipment used by these industrial sectors.

GE’s technology also is used to inspect the quality and integrity of new products—such as jet engine blades before they are installed—and infrastructure assets including bridges and pipelines. Key growth areas for GE’s Inspection Technologies business are composites; weld inspections and corrosion monitoring for bridges, pipelines and other structures; and rotating machinery including jet engines and wheels. For example, the growing use of composite materials by aerospace and wind turbine blade manufacturers is driving a demand for more advanced inspection solutions since the primary method for inspecting these composites is ultrasound.

GE’s New Customer Applications Center, NDT Academy

Upon completion, GE’s new Customer Applications Center will work with GE customers to help solve the world’s toughest inspection challenges. Currently GE hosts more than 200 customer visits a year at the site; a number that will increase with the larger space.

“The expansion project will allow us to expand our new product development, manufacturing and training and create a world-class inspection technologies headquarters that reflects our leadership presence in the NDT industry,” Anderson said.

Meanwhile, GE’s planned NDT Academy will be used to train both GE employees and customers on GE’s latest NDT tools, helping address a global shortage of well-trained NDT personnel. The training academy also will offer partnership opportunities for local colleges and universities.

Project’s Economic Benefits for Lewistown and Central Pa. Region

“This expansion project will be of great benefit to the central Pennsylvania region as GE’s Lewistown site currently spends more than $5 million per year with Pennsylvania suppliers, and we will invest millions of dollars in new product development over the next few years,” Anderson said.

The facility’s enhanced training activities alone are expected to benefit the local economy by more than $1 million per year in increased hotel accommodations and related living expenses.

In terms of job creation, the Lewistown site has already added more than 50 positions in 2011, most of them highly technical. The expansion project is expected to enable GE to hire approximately 60 more people over the next three years.

The expansion project also is expected to create more than 100 local construction jobs. All of the firms on the team hired to design and build the expansion project are located in the central Pennsylvania region, including RAL Architecture + Design, architectural design, Lewisburg; Zartman Construction, general construction, Northumberland; Michael L. Norris & Associates, HVAC, plumbing, fire suppression and electrical engineering, State College; and Penn Terra Engineering, site design, State College.

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Developing the next generation of manufacturing technologies that will replace traditional approaches that cut and machine parts down with new methods that build parts up, GE Global Research, GE’s central technology development arm, has established a new lab in the field of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is the practice of building up material to directly form a net-shape product rather than forming a product by traditional methods such as forging, casting or machining material away.

GE scientists already are studying additive manufacturing techniques to reduce the labor and production costs of ultrasound systems. To learn more and see a video demonstration, visit Edison’s Desk at In ultrasound, continued advances in electronics miniaturization have dramatically shrunk the size, weight and cost of the imaging console. However, the transducer, or ultrasound probe, the device placed on the body that transmits and receives signals that generate the real-time ultrasound images, has largely remained unchanged. It has become the most costly and labor-intensive component of the ultrasound system, as the materials used require extensive, time-consuming cutting and refinement to make the probe. This is needed to create the very intricate patterns near the probe’s face that enable high quality ultrasound images of the body.

GE researchers are applying new additive techniques that can print these intricate patterns on the probe all at once, avoiding hours of cutting and refinement. They believe this could greatly reduce labor and production costs. In addition, printing enables more flexibility in how the probe is designed. This technology also could impact other ultrasound sensors used for the inspection and measurement of high-value, safety-critical aerospace and industrial components.

“For as long as the world has been making things, manufacturing has been a game of subtraction where you cut and machine parts down into the product you want,” said Prabhjot Singh, a mechanical engineer and project leader on the ultrasound transducer project. “While these processes have improved, valuable time and excess raw materials are still lost. With new additive manufacturing processes like 3-D printing and laser deposition, the traditional ways of manufacturing are being turned upside down. By adding instead of removing material to design and build a product, you can dramatically reduce the time, cost and amount of material required to make it.”

Singh added, “The practice of additive manufacturing supports our goals through GE’s healthymagination initiative to improve access to health care. Imagine if we could print transducer probes like we print newspapers – super fast and at very low cost. It would help make ultrasound systems more affordable and more accessible to underserved regions where health care services are limited.”

GE’s healthymagination initiative is built on a global commitment to reduce costs, improve quality and expand access to healthcare for millions of people. New advancements in healthcare manufacturing could help reduces costs and enable more advanced designs of imaging systems that make them more accessible in parts of the world where they cannot be located today.

In addition to healthcare, GE researchers also are exploring additive manufacturing techniques in aviation to reduce the amount of raw material consumed in the manufacturing of complex aircraft engine components. The techniques also afford product designers new degrees of freedom in the design of components. Layer-based additive manufacturing methods are much more flexible in the geometries they can produce compared to conventional manufacturing methods.

The formal establishment of new lab dedicated to additive manufacturing underscores GE’s commitment to infuse advanced technologies into its manufacturing processes. Global Research is investing in a diverse array of more than 100 manufacturing and inspection technology programs and inventing new ways to make products. In October 2009, GE opened the Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center in Michigan that is dedicated to accelerating the development of next generation manufacturing technologies for GE’s industrial products. Together with GE’s Global Research network, the new Center is a vital part in GE’s strategy to successfully transition promising new technologies and processes from the lab to the manufacturing floor. These breakthroughs will redefine how products are made in the future.

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GE Aviation, University of Dayton, state and local officials took part in a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony today for a $51 million research-and-development center on campus.

Nearly 200 people turned out for what may be the largest groundbreaking in school history.

The mood was celebratory: "We think the best way to predict the future is to create it," said emcee Mickey McCabe, vice president for research at the University of Dayton. "That's what we're doing today."

It is the first major construction project on a 50-acre parcel of largely vacant land the University purchased from NCR in 2005 and remediated for redevelopment.

"The University of Dayton took a big bet in purchasing this abandoned NCR property several years ago, having the vision of future technology business growth, and proactively working for five years to make this land shovel ready," said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. "Their vision is becoming reality today."

Called an Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center (EPISCENTER), the facility will be built on eight acres on River Park Drive. It will serve as the southern anchor to the Ohio Aerospace Hub of Innovation and Opportunity. The four-story facility will include a 40,000-square-foot office building connected to an 80,000-square-foot world-class electrical research center. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2012.

"This location and future facility will aid each of us in attracting high-caliber engineering talent.  What college student wouldn't want to work here? Our researchers will be within walking distance of the University of Dayton Research Institute staff, seven miles from Wright Patterson Air Force Base and a 30-minute drive from several GE Aviation businesses in the Dayton and Cincinnati region," Bolsinger said.

Daniel J. Curran, president of the University of Dayton, called the project a symbol of Dayton's rebirth and a "wonderful collaboration" between a private research university and a giant corporation.

"Ultimately, the University of Dayton, in partnership with GE Aviation, may develop new academic programs in high-tech fields, such as advanced electrical power systems. The future possibilities are limited only by our imagination," he said.

"This is an extraordinary partnership."

For more information visit: or

GE scientists and engineers at the company’s Global Research headquarters in Niskayuna, NY today unveiled a high-power hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) system that will revolutionize how industrial products are manufactured in the future.

At 20 kW, GE’s system is one of the largest HLAW facilities in North America. It wields enough power to weld steels nearly one-inch thick in a single pass versus the up to a half dozen passes required with current welding technologies. Utilizing HLAW will dramatically increase the speed at which industrial products are manufactured in the future. For example, going from conventional welding processes to HLAW to weld the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga could have saved nearly 800 tons of weld metal (equal to the weight of more than 600 compact cars) and reduced the welding time by 80%. GE is exploring this technology for application across its infrastructure manufacturing operations, including the oil and gas, power generation, aviation and rail industries.

“Manufacturing is becoming increasingly high-tech, with the introduction of advanced tools and processes that can make products better, faster and at substantially lower costs,” said Luana Iorio, Manufacturing Technologies Leader at GE Global Research. “HLAW technology is part of a broad portfolio of next generation manufacturing tools GE is developing to improve our manufacturing competitiveness and take product performance to the next level.”

Welding is fundamental to the manufacture of virtually any product made with metal components. It also is one of the most time-consuming elements of a manufacturing process. Furthermore, welding has traditionally taken place within a centralized manufacturing operation, which often is a great distance from a finished product’s final destination. This makes shipping more complex and costly. New, breakthrough-manufacturing tools like GE’s HLAW system will eventually break the mold, enabling parts to be welded in just of a fraction of the time it takes today with greater consistency.

Iorio said, “The portability of this new-high power laser platform will enable us to think very differently about how parts are welded. For example, we can now think about welding parts onsite where a product will be located, as opposed to the traditional manufacturing floor. This also will simplify and reduce time in the shipping process.”

How it works

GE’s hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) process uses a combination of laser welding and arc welding. With high-power fiber lasers, one is able to weld steels greater than 0.5” thick in a single pass at speeds greater than 6 ft/min. The result is a higher quality weld compared to traditional multi-pass welding approaches. To develop this technology, GE has leveraged decades of expertise in electrical power and laser technology. GE’s history in laser technology spans five decades and it has been extensively applied for manufacturing applications.

Over the years, GE has pioneered the use of lasers in manufacturing applications ranging from laser hole drilling in aircraft turbine blades to the first use of lasers for surface treatment of fan blades for better durability. Lasers are also used to weld filaments for lighting products, lamination spacers for generators, and components for X-ray tubes. In recent years, GE has developed new applications of the laser that include the measurement of precision parts in production applications, the repair of power generation parts and the processing of solar panel materials.

The development of the HLAW system underscores GE’s commitment to infuse advanced technologies into its manufacturing processes. Global Research is investing in a diverse array of more than 100 manufacturing and inspection technology programs and inventing new ways to make products. In October 2009, GE opened the Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center in Michigan that is dedicated to accelerating the development of next generation manufacturing technologies for GE’s industrial products. Together with GE’s Global Research network, the new Center is a vital part in GE’s strategy to successfully transition promising new technologies and processes from the lab to the manufacturing floor. These breakthroughs will redefine how products are made in the future.

For more information visit:

Scientists in GE’s Global Research Center have demonstrated an advanced thermal material system that could pave the way to faster computing and higher performing electronic systems. Leveraging technologies developed under GE’s Nanotechnology Advanced Technology Program, they have fabricated a prototype substrate that can cool electronic devices such as a laptop computer twice as well as copper.

Since the dawn of the electronics age, copper has been a preferred material to cool electronics because of its favorable heat conducting properties. But as electronic systems become more advanced, they are generating more and more heat. Too much heat can limit the overall performance of these systems, impacting computing speed and processing power. New breakthrough materials will be needed to enable more advanced systems and applications.

The development of GE’s prototype substrate, which utilizes phase-change-based heat transfer, is part of a four year, $6 million program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA, Contract # No. N66001-08-C-2008). As the leading organization of the program, GE Global Research has been collaborating with GE Intelligent Platforms, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and University of Cincinnati on the project.

Dr. Tao Deng, a senior scientist at GE Global Research and the project leader, said, “As electronics become more advanced, we are approaching the point where conventional materials like copper can’t take the heat. For computing to go faster and electronics systems to become more capable, better cooling solutions such as GE’s prototype substrate will be required to allow this to happen.”

Deng added, “In demonstrations, GE’s prototype substrate has functioned effectively in a variety of electronics application environments. We also subjected it to harsh conditions during testing and found it could successfully operate in extremely high gravity applications.”

For more information, read Tao’s blog on Edison’s Desk at

Deng noted that GE’s prototype operated in conditions experiencing more than 10 times the normal force of gravity. By comparison, this gravity force is more than twice the maximum force experienced on the world’s fastest roller coasters.

How it Works

GE’s phase-change based prototype substrate can be applied to computer chips and a variety of different electronic components. It acts as a cooling mechanism that spreads or dissipates the heat generated in electronic systems to keep components cool.

During testing at the Air Force Research laboratories, GE’s research team successfully demonstrated a prototype substrate that was measured to have at least twice the thermal conductivity as copper at only one–fourth of its weight. In addition, the prototype successfully operated in a condition that was more than 10 times normal gravity.

With high thermal conductivity, low weight, and high “G” acceleration performance, this substrate could work well in a variety of different systems, ranging from laptop computers to larger scale, more sophisticated computing systems that run the avionics and electronic control systems on board jetliners and other aircraft.

In collaboration with various agencies from the US government, GE Global Research has been developing several advanced thermal technologies. Besides the DARPA effort, Dr. Deng is also leading a team, supported by Air Force Research Laboratory, to develop advanced thermal solutions for high-speed flight in a 1.5-year, $1 MM effort. These efforts will build a total thermal solution platform to serve multiple GE businesses, including GE Aviation, GE Energy, and GE Intelligent Platforms.

To learn more about this breakthrough, visit

A first-of-its-kind report released today outlines a new landscape for innovation in the 21st century, placing an increased premium on addressing local needs, marshaling the creativity of individuals and smaller organizations, and forging strategic partnerships.

The inaugural “GE Global Innovation Barometer,” an independent survey of 1,000 business executives in 12 countries, found that the greatest innovations of our time will be those that help address human need, more so than those that simply create the most profit. The “GE Global Innovation Barometer” was commissioned by GE (NYSE:GE) and conducted by research and consulting firm, StrategyOne, to identify drivers and deterrents of innovation and to analyze perceptions around innovation challenges.

“This study illustrates that the rules around innovation are changing, and that companies, like ours, will need to evolve our strategy in order to stay competitive, drive growth and contribute meaningfully to the economy,” said Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer and senior vice president, GE. “For innovation to flourish, we must embrace a new innovation paradigm that promotes collaboration between all players – big, small, public and private - fosters creativity and emphasizes solutions that meet local needs.”

Innovation Will Deliver a New Brand of Prosperity

In the study, innovation was consistently seen as a strong driver of a prosperous economy. Ninety-five percent of executives said innovation is the main lever for a more competitive national economy, and 88 percent agreed that innovation is the best way to create jobs in their country. While the notion that innovation drives prosperity is not new, the survey sheds light on the evolving definition of prosperity. More than three-quarters of executives (77%) said they believe the greatest innovations of the 21st century will be those that help address human needs, such as improving health quality or enhancing energy security, more than those that simply create the most profit. They believed innovation would be a catalyst for improving multiple areas of citizens’ lives in the next 10 years, including health quality (87%), environmental quality (85%), energy security (82%) and access to education (81%).

“The results clearly demonstrate that globally our priorities are shifting from innovations that simply make money to innovations that also create good in people’s lives,” said Comstock.

New Players, New Rules

The survey showed that the traditional means of innovation are changing, placing more emphasis on individuals and small- to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and creating a greater need for collaboration. In fact, 75 percent of respondents agreed that the way companies innovate in the 21st century will be “totally different” than the way they innovated in the past. The same percentage said that more than ever, individuals and SMEs will be as innovative as large companies, and 86 percent said that 21st century innovation is about partnerships between several entities as opposed to the success of a single organization. At the same time, 76 percent of executives said that innovation must be tailored to local market needs.

Respondents also emphasized creativity as a critical means to innovation. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) said that innovation is now driven more by people’s creativity than by high-level scientific research, while 58 percent agreed that having more “out-of-the-box” thinkers on the team is the No. 1 factor that would help companies innovate more.

The Innovation Optimism Paradox

The survey asked executives to name the three countries they viewed as the leading innovation champions; the U.S. topped the list with 67 percent, followed by Germany (44%), Japan (43%), and China (35%). Then, the survey explored the degree to which executives believed innovation would improve the lives of their countries’ citizens and the likelihood that that improvement would happen based on current conditions. Ironically, none of the top four countries that were considered innovation champions by their peers were optimistic about the power and prospect of innovation. Both China and Japan were designated “pessimists,” while the U.S. and Germany were designated “traditionalists,” falling in between optimism and pessimism.

This paradox may be due to perceived barriers to innovation in specific countries. In China, for example, 56 percent of respondents cited the need for more financial support from public authorities. In Japan, 36 percent cited the need to work with universities and research labs for product development.

GE’s Innovation Path

GE has embarked on several initiatives that will foster innovation in lock step with today’s global needs. For example, the company launched the GE ecomagination Challenge in 2010, a $200 million fund to help drive collaboration among entrepreneurs, researchers, and SMEs to accelerate the pace of innovation. The Challenge, one of the largest of its kind, is currently focused on finding the best ideas for powering the home.

About the Survey:

The research was commissioned by GE and conducted by StrategyOne between December 10, 2010, and January 14, 2011. Interviews with the 1,000 senior business executives were conducted by telephone across 12 countries. All respondents are directly involved in their company’s innovation processes and are VP and above with 30 percent of those surveyed C-suite. The countries included in the research are Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Sweden and the USA.

Innovation was primarily defined by respondents as the development and invention of new products, creativity and definition accounting by 31 percent of the respondents.

Results and visuals available at;

About GE:

GE (NYSE: GE) is an innovative and diversified technology company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, healthcare, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's website at

About StrategyOne:

Founded in 1999 StrategyOne is an independent research company with offices in New York, Washington, Paris, London, Chicago, Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, and Silicon Valley.

GE (NYSE: GE) unveiled today the five innovation award winners of its $200 million open innovation challenge, the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid.” The Challenge, launched in July, is part of GE’s ecomagination commitment to accelerate development of the next generation power grid and global energy transformation through open collaboration.

The five innovation award winners submitted ideas that could contribute to creating a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid and represent the entrepreneurial spirit of the Challenge, They were selected by an independent panel of judges including challenge advisor, Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson, GE executives and leading academics and technologists. Videos of the winners are available at

The winning ideas are a lightweight inflatable wind turbine; a technology that instantly de-ices wind turbine blades so they never slow or shut down; an intelligent water meter that can generate its own power; a cyber-secure network infrastructure that allows two-way communications grid monitoring and substation automation from wind and solar farms; and a technology solves short-circuiting and outages from overloaded electric grids by enabling precise control over their flow and power.

The Challenge generated nearly 4,000 ideas and facilitated robust conversations across the open innovation platform between 70,000 entrepreneurs in more than 150 countries over a 10-week period. GE partnered with four leading venture capital firms, Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital, to conceive and implement the Challenge, calling for innovation ideas in three categories: Renewables, Grid and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings.

“We launched the Challenge to encourage new thinking and spur innovation at every level of development,” said Beth Comstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, GE. “The first step toward modernizing our grid is to uncover ideas and transform them into game-changing technologies and the Challenge has demonstrated that many great ideas exist out there. The smart thinking and compelling business cases presented make these innovation award winning ideas examples of pioneering entrepreneurship.”

The five innovation Challenge award winners will each receive $100,000 to develop their ideas. They are:

* Capstone Metering: Intelligent Water Meters – Carrollton, Texas: Capstone Metering applies remote communications technology to the century-old water meter. The company’s IntelliH2O is self-powered and delivers real-time water system management, which helps conserve water and eliminates the need for manual meter-readings (
* ElectricRoute: Secure Communications Network for the Electric Grid, Salem and Hollis, New Hampshire: Recognizing the substation's unique location in the electric grid, ElectricRoute created a communications gateway point for transmission and distribution systems. Its cyber-secure, communications network infrastructure eliminates duplicate sensors and thousands of copper lines running inside the substation.
* GridON: Controlling Power Quality in Electric Grids, Givatayim, Israel:- GridON created a fault-current-limiter to protect the electric grid from disruptions and power outages, increasing the grid’s reliability and enabling load growth and generation expansion from alternative energy sources. This technology was developed in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University and Ricor Ltd (
* IceCode: Wind Turbine Blade Anti-Icing and De-Icing, West Lebanon, NH - Seeking to break one of nature’s strongest bonds, IceCode’s technology removes ice by using high-power pulses to apply heat from the inside out. Employing this technology for wind turbines substantially reduces the amount of energy used for de-icing and eliminates downtime for ice removal and inspection. Developed in collaboration with Dartmouth College (
* WinFlex: Inflatable Wind Turbines, Kiryat Yam, Israel: - WinFlex produces rotors for wind turbines from light, flexible and inexpensive cloth sheets made out of composite materials. This flexible rotor design reduces installation costs by at least fifty percent and shortens the return on investment to three-four years, without subsidies (

Chris Anderson said, "Our grids today are where the Internet was a generation ago, with their full interactive potential still largely untapped. Just as we did with the Internet, we can make them smarter and more efficient, using the power of collaboration, open access and a hugely expanded range of entrepreneurs. The Challenge was designed to accelerate this, and show that good ideas can come from anywhere. And the number and breadth of ideas we received was indeed inspiring."

Launched on July 13, 2010, the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid” is a $200 million open innovation challenge to uncover breakthrough ideas to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid, and accelerate the adoption of more efficient grid technologies. For additional details on the challenge, and to view the full terms and conditions visit

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is an innovative and diversified technology company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, healthcare, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's website at

About GE’s ecomagination

GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid”, a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in building the next-generation power grid. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at

Elma Peters
GE Corporate, Leader - Corporate Communications & PR
+32 2 235 6980
+32 473 926 980(mobile)
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Jamie Loftus
GE Corporate
(203) 373-3046
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