The five-year agreement between Swiss advanced materials and man Oerlikon and GE specifies the provision of additive machines and services by GE to Oerlikon, and Oerlikon becoming a preferred AM component manufacturer and materials supplier to GE Additive and its affiliated companies. Further, GE and Oerlikon will collaborate on research and development in additive machines and materials over the period of the agreement. The MoU, announced at the International Paris Air Show, includes GE Additive affiliated companies Concept Laser and Arcam AB.
Dr. Roland Fischer, CEO of the Oerlikon Group, said: “Developing innovative technology is key to our growth strategy and a distinct advantage Oerlikon brings to customers. Partnering with GE Additive, Concept Laser and Arcam AB on innovative AM materials and machines will strengthen both companies’ positions in additive manufacturing, and allows us to meet the growing demand for additive components, materials and services in many industries.”
Additive manufacturing (more often called 3D printing) involves transforming digital designs from computer-aided design (CAD) software, and building them using an additive machine, layer by layer, with metal powder. Additive components are typically lighter, more durable and more efficient than traditional cast and forged parts because they can be made as one piece, requiring fewer welds and joints and less assembly. Because additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate far less waste material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.
Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive, Mohammad Ehteshami, added: “GE Additive and Oerlikon both understand the transformative power of additive manufacturing. As the adoption rate of AM grows rapidly, it is through strategic partnerships that we can push forward the uptake of AM in industries, and we’re proud to partner with Oerlikon.”
For many years, GE has been a leading end user and innovator in the additive manufacturing space. In addition to the USD 1.4 billion investment in Concept Laser and Arcam AB, GE has also invested approximately USD 1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies over the past ten years, developed additive applications across six GE businesses, created new service applications across the company and earned 346 patents in material science. In 2016, the company established GE Additive to become a leading supplier of additive technology, materials and services for industries and businesses worldwide.
Oerlikon is an AM market leader with extensive expertise in advanced materials, AM production, post processing and surface solutions. Leveraging its global service network and strong customer relationships across many industries, Oerlikon is well positioned to drive the industrialization of AM as an integrated materials and service provider. In 2016, Oerlikon acquired citim GmbH to complement its additive production capabilities in Europe and the USA. Oerlikon is also building a state-of-the-art AM powder production facility in Plymouth, Michigan (USA), a cutting-edge R&D and production facility in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), and a world-class R&D and innovation center in Munich, Germany.