GE Additive celebrated the opening of its first international Customer Experience Center in Munich. The new 2,700 square meter center, co-located with GE’s European Technology Center, allows current and potential customers to experience every aspect of the additive manufacturing process from design to prototyping to operations. Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President & General Manager GE Additive, and thought-leaders from business, politics, technology and academia gathered for the Grand Opening and discussed the potential that additive manufacturing will bring to business and industries.
GE Additive’s Customer Experience Centers are designed to help customers understand the additive process; from design to prototyping to production and guide them along the way. Customers benefit from hands-on training and instruction at the facility, covering additive design, machine operations and support.
The Customer Experience Center in Munich, launched with an investment of $15 million, will employ up to 50 GE Additive employees, including technicians and engineers specializing in additive design and production. 10 additive machines from Germany’s Concept Laser and Sweden’s Arcam EBM have been installed. The center serves as an enabler for customers to accelerate the adoption of additive in their business, regardless of where they are on their additive journey. The facility enables customers to start with a concept, design and build a prototype, and then move all the way through production, while enabling them to think through industrializing processes and helping improve their products and supply chain.
The Munich center also offers a modern educational facility for their Additive Academy™ – GE Additive’s customer training team. All customers are welcome to visit the center to collaborate with the local team on additive design, process development, prototyping and industrializing their additive operations.
There are a number of ways that customers can interact with the Customer Experience Center in Munich:
- Machine Access – Access to use the latest metal additive machines (DMLM and EBM)
- AddWorks – Collaboration with GE’s additive experts on product identification, design, material selection and on additive facility setup
- Prototypes – Build prototypes and see designs come to life
- Low rate initial production – Build multiple parts and develop operations process prior to full rate production
- Additive Academy – Training from the GE team of additive experts in all aspects of additive manufacturing
- Spare parts and powder – Access to GE’s team who can provide field service knowledge, spares and operational support to customers
More than 150 guest and dignitaries from business, politics and academia came to Munich for the opening, and got a chance to tour the facility after a ribbon cutting. Guests also heard from different speakers, including representatives from BMW and Oerlikon, on how they see the future of additive manufacturing.
“The opening of our Customer Experience Center here in Munich marks a great milestone for us,” said Robert Griggs, Customer Success Leader at GE Additive. “Germany is the global innovation hub for additive manufacturing. Right here, at the heart of the additive revolution, the center will operate as the interface between customers and our teams, combining the strengths of Germany’s Concept Laser and Sweden’s Arcam, both leading providers of additive machines and services. We look forward to working closely with European companies and institutes, allowing them to fully realize the transformative potential that additive design and manufacturing can bring. We’re excited about the types of products they will design and the improvements they can make to their operations using additive.”
GE Additive continues to grow its global infrastructure – as evidenced by the new Munich center, as well as by its on-going expansion of the Concept Laser headquarters in Lichtenfels.
The concept of GE Additive’s Customer Experience Centers is an integral part of GE Additive’s strategy to accelerate the adoption rate of additive manufacturing with businesses worldwide, allowing customers to experience first-hand the value that additive manufacturing can bring.
After the first U.S.-based Customer Experience Center in Pittsburgh became part of the GE Additive family in May 2017, Munich is now the first international center – with other GE Additive centers planned worldwide to boost the use of additive manufacturing in different regions.
Additive manufacturing involves taking a digital design from computer aided design (CAD) software and melting/sintering together in a layer-by-layer manner, using a laser or an electron beam as the energy source. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Since additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate far less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing (3D printing) drastically expands the design possibilities for engineers – and allows them to produce better products.