PITTSBURGH—GE has put out a challenge to 3D fabricators of all types and is offering big money for designers and additive manufacturers to push the boundaries of the sector once solely the realm of prototyping.
GE announced two global additive manufacturing quests that invite entrepreneurs, companies and institutions to design technologies used in healthcare and 3D fabricate an aircraft engine bracket.
“GE is committed to leading the next manufacturing revolution through innovative hardware, material and process advancements,” said Mark Little, senior vice-president and chief technology officer for GE Global Research Center. “These Quests will help us to convene and engage this community in meaningful ways and ultimately build an additive manufacturing ecosystem that scales the industry to new heights.”
The additive manufacturing quests, launching with partners GrabCAD and NineSigma, are both are open to the public. The first phase of both quests will be open from June 11, 2013 to July 26, 2013.
3D Printing Design Quest
Here’s the challenge: create the best 3D-printable design for an aircraft engine bracket. The top 10 designs from the first phase will win $1,000 each and will be additively manufactured and tested by GE during phase two.
The best eight designs in the second phase will be awarded from a total prize pool of $20,000.
During the quest, GrabCAD’s online community of more than 650,000 global engineers will have a chance to submit their CAD design solutions to a panel including some of GE’s brightest engineers.
3D Printing Production Quest: High Precision and Advanced Manufacturing
Participants must use 3D printing technology to produce highly precise and complex parts with high precision. Such parts will have potential application in medical imaging and a broad spectrum of other GE businesses.
GE hopes to broaden its supplier network of high-end 3D fabricators with sophisticated production capabilities.
Up to ten winners from the first phase will be awarded $5,000 and invited to participate in the second phase, which includes prototype fabrication with specified materials. Three winning prototypes will be awarded $50,000 each.
GE has partnered with Nine Sigma to launch the production quest, which will be judged and tested by industry experts in fields of additive manufacturing and engineering.
“GE is always looking for new ways to bring great ideas to life, and we’re excited to tap the creativity and skills of GrabCAD and NineSigma’s significant membership databases. New approaches, including additive manufacturing and crowd-sourcing design concepts, are just a few of the ways we are accelerating our design process,” said Greg Morris, Strategy and Business Development for Additive Technologies at GE.
GE is the world’s largest user of additive technologies in metals, with a full-scale additive manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a global team of 600 engineers, spread across 21 sites. Company-wide, GE invests $6 billion in R&D.