Jan 27, 2016 | By Kira

The central technology development hub of General Electric (GE), one of the world’s largest users of metal 3D printing technologies, has just joined the 3MF Consortium at the Founding Membership level, and will use its coveted leadership and experience in 3D printing technology to help develop and promote 3MF’s new 3D printing file format and 3D printing innovation as a whole.

The 3MF Consortium is an industry association formed in May 2015 to develop a new full-fidelity file format for 3D printing, overcoming the limitations associated with existing, ‘outdated’ 3D file formats including .STL and .OBJ. Seven 3D printing industry leaders formed the original 3MF Consortium, including 3D systems, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, FIT AG, Shapeways, HP, Materialise and Microsoft. In December 2015, Ultimaker also joined as a 3MF Founding Member. Now, GE Global Research has committed its advanced 3D printing services and expertise to the cause.

GE has been pioneering uses for industrial and metal 3D printing technology for years and is currently considered the largest user of additive technologies with metals in the world. Scientists at the GE Additive Manufacturing Lab in Alabama have manufactured advanced, functional 3D printed parts using metals, plastics and ceramics, including 3D printed jet engine components and 3D printed steam turbines. GE has also invested $32 million in a brand new Additive Manufacturing Research Center, set to open in Pennsylvania in early 2016, which will work closely with Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State and the University of Pittsburg to train new designers and engineers in the latest 3D printing techniques.

Given this wide range of 3D printing experience and expertise, GE Global Research is well positioned to join the ranks of the 3MF Consortium’s founding members.

“With the successful integration of 3D printed metal parts in two different jet engine platforms and the construction of GE Aviation's $50 million state-of-the-art high-volume additive production plant in Auburn, Alabama, we achieved major milestones with our additive program in 2015," said Prabhjot Singh, Manager of the Additive Manufacturing Lab at GE Global Research. "But we have only scratched the surface on additive's potential. With even better design tools, machines and new materials, we can dramatically expand the additive industry's footprint in manufacturing. That future will arrive faster through the strong ecosystem that 3MF is building to bring the right stakeholders together to accelerate new innovations and breakthroughs in this space."

"GE Global Research is a recognized leader with real-world experience using 3D printing and additive manufacturing to drive innovation," said Adrian Lannin, 3MF Consortium executive director. "We look forward to working with GE Global Research to enrich the 3MF standard and create new opportunities for both 3D printing and the additive manufacturing ecosystem."

The first version of the 3MF specification is already available for download at no charge, and with an ever-growing number of influential 3D printing leaders on its side, it will be interesting to see how quickly the 3MF Consortium will develop throughout 2016, and what impact its new 3D printing format will have on the industry at large.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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