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.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.