Executive Briefings

Europe Leads as Industrial 3-D Printing Takes Shape

For General Electric Co. and its rivals expanding their manufacturing operations using 3-D printing, Europe is emerging as a dominant source of the latest technologies.

GE is placing Concept Laser GmbH of Germany and Sweden's Arcam AB, which the U.S. industrial giant bought in November for a combined $1.5bn, at the core of a new business unit it is spinning out of GE Aviation. Arcam and Concept already are working closely on printed airplane-engine parts with European aviation-component makers that GE bought over the past decade. GE is investing about $100m to expand Concept’s headquarters and plans to double its staff of 200 by early next year.

Last month GE said it will open in Munich the first of several marketing centers it plans world-wide dedicated to the new technology, known formally as metal additive manufacturing, in a nod to the European companies' outsize role in the technique’s development. The new hands-on demonstration facility, which will have up to 10 operational 3-D printers from the two companies, will be built next to GE's existing research center at a cost of roughly $10m.

Concept, Arcam and other European companies that GE bought over recent years "bring great technologies that were developed independently here," said Riccardo Procacci, a GE veteran previously with the conglomerate's oil-and-gas division. He is now chief executive of plane-part maker Avio Aero, near Milan, which GE bought in 2013. One of Avio's specialties is 3-D metal printing, thanks to a decade of work with Arcam.

GE is considering European locations for the headquarters of its new GE Additive division, now being created. Executives have said they want to generate $1bn in revenue from 3-D printing by 2020, up from $300m today.

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GE is placing Concept Laser GmbH of Germany and Sweden's Arcam AB, which the U.S. industrial giant bought in November for a combined $1.5bn, at the core of a new business unit it is spinning out of GE Aviation. Arcam and Concept already are working closely on printed airplane-engine parts with European aviation-component makers that GE bought over the past decade. GE is investing about $100m to expand Concept’s headquarters and plans to double its staff of 200 by early next year.

Last month GE said it will open in Munich the first of several marketing centers it plans world-wide dedicated to the new technology, known formally as metal additive manufacturing, in a nod to the European companies' outsize role in the technique’s development. The new hands-on demonstration facility, which will have up to 10 operational 3-D printers from the two companies, will be built next to GE's existing research center at a cost of roughly $10m.

Concept, Arcam and other European companies that GE bought over recent years "bring great technologies that were developed independently here," said Riccardo Procacci, a GE veteran previously with the conglomerate's oil-and-gas division. He is now chief executive of plane-part maker Avio Aero, near Milan, which GE bought in 2013. One of Avio's specialties is 3-D metal printing, thanks to a decade of work with Arcam.

GE is considering European locations for the headquarters of its new GE Additive division, now being created. Executives have said they want to generate $1bn in revenue from 3-D printing by 2020, up from $300m today.

Read Full Article