General Electric is a company that has made a mark on 3D printing despite coming into the game a short while ago. Regardless of their short time in the business, they’ve invested in other firms and developed their own machines. One of these machines was announced last month at the Paris Air Show, a massive metal printer.
The printer, due for release in 2018, will 1 cubic meter. GE have dubbed it Altlas (temporarily) and are looking to launch beta versions by the end of this year. However, these beta releases will only be for companies that are collaborating with GE. The actual printer is due for launch late next year.
What We Know So Far
As of yet, no images of the new printer have been made available. We are not certain, at this point, whether the final version will retain the name Atlas. Atlas is set to be faster or as fast as any contemporary metal printer. GE have developed the new printer with the help of concept laser. This is natural, as GE bought a controlling stake in concept laser just last year.
The technology employed by the printer will be some form of laser powder bed printing. Concept laser currently manufacture the largest metal printers in this type category. They are developing the new printer in collaboration with GE Additive, GE’s 3D printing division.
Reportedly, the build geometry will be customisable and scalable. We’ve also learned that GE have made it specifically for aerospace manufacturing. This is fitting, considering it is specialises in titanium and aluminum. They full material list is unknown at this point, however, it will be capable of processing multiple different metals.
GE Investing in Desktop Metal & Other Companies
GE is one of those companies with their hands in multiple cookie jars at any given time. Aside from their own operations, they also invest in other companies like Desktop Metal. Previously, we covered Desktop Metal’s recent release, a microwave enhanced sintering device.
Along with Google’s GV, they have helped contribute $115 million dollars into Desktop Metal’s pockets. Reportedly, the company has raised $222 million in total. As a strategy, this makes sense. With Desktop Metal they can capitalise on the office-space friendly desktop metal machines, while their own productions can deliver for the large-scale segment.
It’s clear that GE plan to go head first into the world of metal printing. They’ve developed their operations significantly over the past couple of years. However, they have steep competition considering the number of machines and new technologies coming out.