3D printing: GE Aviation’s CEO hails “manufacturing renaissance”

3D printing: GE Aviation’s CEO hails “manufacturing renaissance”

The ability to print complex parts is “one of the most disruptive innovations I’ve seen in the manufacturing space in my 37 years here,” says David Joyce, CEO of GE Aviation. “Manufacturing is going through a renaissance.”

3D printing: GE Aviation’s CEO hails “manufacturing renaissance”

General Electric Co. shook up the 3D printer market last year by laying down more than $1 billion on two acquisitions. Turns out that may be just the beginning.

The manufacturing giant is weighing additional purchases to expand the fast-growing business, said David Joyce, GE’s vice chair in charge of 3D printing. The burgeoning technology is becoming a new product line as well as a central component of GE’s effort to modernise its manufacturing operations, boost productivity and reshape how everything from locomotives to medical scanners to jet engines are made.

In that process, GE is racing to beat out competitors such as Siemens and United Technologies, which also are integrating advanced printers into their operations. The moves come as manufacturing is thrust into the spotlight amid the rise of President Donald Trump, who has pledged to revitalise the sector and reverse decades of job losses. While 3D technology could help bring back factories, it’s unlikely to do the same for factory workers.

The ability to print complex parts is “one of the most disruptive innovations I’ve seen in the manufacturing space in my 37 years here,” Joyce said in an interview in his Cincinnati-area office. As chief executive officer of GE Aviation, he’s helping lead adoption of 3-D technology within the company by incorporating printed parts into jet engines. “Manufacturing is going through a renaissance,” he said.

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