GE Aviation Plans $50M 3D Printing Facility to Make Jet Engine Parts
GE Aviation has announced plans to spend $50 million on a new 3D printing initiative at its existing operations in Alabama, USA. The first-of-its-kind project will mass-produce fuel nozzles for jet engines.
Gov. Robert Bentley and GE Aviation officials at the Farnborough International Airshow near London announced plans for the high-volume, additive manufacturing facility last week.
“GE Aviation's decision to launch a 3D printing initiative at its Auburn plant speaks volumes about the ability of an Alabama workforce to carry out cutting-edge manufacturing,” Bentley said in a statement provided by the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This is tomorrow's technology, and we are proud to say it will be performed right here in Alabama.”
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, represents a significant technology breakthrough for the company and the jet propulsion industry. Unlike traditional manufacturing that cuts away at a metal slab to produce parts, 3-D printing ‘grows’ parts from a computer-aided design file using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser.
It's a faster way to produce parts, with less waste.
GE Aviation's 300,000-square-foot Auburn plant, which makes machined parts for jet engines, opened last year and now employs more than 70 people. The company said today that the 3D printing project would increase the number of employees to 300. In addition, the company is working with Auburn University and Tuskegee University on student internship and co-op opportunities.
Equipment installation is expected to begin later this year, with production of the fuel nozzles starting next year. By the end of 2015, the plant could have up to 10 printing machines with the potential to grow to more than 50.
At the completion of the $50 million project, the company's investment in Auburn will top $125 million since 2011.
The fuel nozzles will be used on the LEAP jet engine, which will enter airline service in 2016 and power aircraft including the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX. Production is expected to ramp up from 1,000 fuel nozzles annually to more than 40,000 by 2020.
Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility
Who is Lion Electric?
Founded in 2008, is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric.
Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility
Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.
The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers.
It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.
“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”
Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois
Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.
Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation
As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.
“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.
“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.”