May 27, 2016 | By Benedict

General Electric has opened a new additive manufacturing line, which will use laser technology to 3D print end burners for gas turbine combustion chambers, at the GE Oil & Gas plant in Talamona, Italy. An automated nozzle production line has also been opened.

After two years and €10 million (~$11.2 million) of investment, GE has unveiled its new advanced manufacturing facilities in Talamona, which will be used in the production of turbine and compressor parts. The introduction of the new additive manufacturing and nozzle production lines will contribute to the plant’s status as a “center of excellence” for the oil and gas industry.

The new additive manufacturing line will reportedly offer faster and more accurate production of burners for gas turbine combustion chambers. The turbine in question, the NovaLT16, recently underwent testing to see if prototype 3D printed burners could be effectively incorporated into the system. When the additively manufactured components were deemed satisfactory, GE decided to take them into full production.

“The use of automated production and new techniques like additive manufacturing allow us to develop parts and products more efficiently, precisely and cost-effectively, accelerating the speed at which we can bring product to market,” said Davide Marrani, general manager manufacturing for business turbomachinery solutions at GE Oil & Gas.

GE has previously used additive manufacturing technology to develop 3D printed turbines and airplane parts, and recently opened a dedicated additive manufacturing facility in Pittsburgh. By bringing its growing additive manufacturing expertise to European site, the corporation is starting to demonstrate its serious dedication to 3D printing technology.

“Our investment in these technologies at this site reflects our ongoing commitment to combine cutting edge technology and new manufacturing processes to lower cost and accelerate the innovation, speed and performance of industrial products,” Marrani said. “Our commitment to ongoing research and innovation is key to meet our clients’ ever-changing needs.”

In 2013, GE Oil & Gas opened an additive manufacturing facility in Florence, Italy, around 250 miles southeast of the Talamona plant. The Florence facility was given a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printer, and has since received two further machines to increase its additive manufacturing capabilities. The corporation has also been expanding its additive manufacturing strategy through R&D sites spanning Bangalore (India), Niskayuna (Japan), Michigan (United States), Shanghai (China), and Munich (Germany).

“The opportunities for the application of additive manufacturing and 3D printing in the oil and gas industry are only just starting to be explored, and it will require an ongoing rethink of component design and production approach,” said Massimiliano Cecconi, materials and manufacturing technologies executive at GE Oil & Gas. “GE Oil & Gas is fostering the development of this technology to produce complex components for gas turbines, while cutting costs, boosting performance and reducing emissions.”

GE has been operating in Italy since 1921, and has around 12,400 employees working across eight business divisions active in various technological sectors. Its new additive manufacturing line is already up and running, and is expected to be fully operational by the start of next year.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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