GE Additive and Oerlikon sign MoU for additive manufacturing collaboration

June 21, 2017 Photo(s): By GE Additive
Left to Right: Florian Mauerer, Oerlikon; Roland Fischer, CEO of Oerlikon; David Joyce, Vice Chairman, GE; Mohammad Ehteshami, VP and GM, GE Additive

GE Additive, Concept Laser and Arcam AB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oerlikon to collaborate on accelerating the industrialization of additive manufacturing (AM). The agreement includes the provision of additive machines and services to Oerlikon, while Oerlikon becomes a preferred AM component manufacturer and a materials supplier to GE Additive and its affiliated companies. Further, GE and Oerlikon will collaborate on additive machine and materials research and development over the five year period of the agreement. The MoU was announced at the Paris Air Show.

"GE Additive and Oerlikon both understand the transformative power of additive manufacturing," said Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive, Mohammad Ehteshami. "This is further proof that the adoption rate of additive is growing rapidly and we're proud to partner with Oerlikon."

Some of the agreements within the MoU include:

  • GE Additive and its affiliated companies will be preferred suppliers of AM machines to Oerlikon.
  • Oerlikon will become a GE Additive preferred component manufacturer and a materials supplier to GE Additive and its affiliated companies.
  • Oerlikon and GE Additive will collaborate on machine and materials R&D.

Dr. Fischer, CEO of Oerlikon said: "Developing innovative technology is key to our growth strategy and a distinct advantage of Oerlikon. We look forward to partnering with GE Additive, Concept Laser and Arcam on innovative AM materials and machines which will strengthen our position in additive manufacturing, and allows us to meet the growing demand for additive components in a variety of industries."

Additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing) involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and building them on an additive machine, layer by layer from metal powder. Additive components are typically lighter, more durable and more efficient than traditional casting and forged parts because they can be made as one piece, requiring less welds, joints and assembly. Because additive parts are essentially "grown" from the ground up, they generate far less waste material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.

For many years, GE has been a leading end user and innovator in the additive manufacturing space. In addition to the $1.4 billion investment in Concept Laser and Arcam, GE has also invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies over the past 10 years, developed additive applications across six GE businesses, created new services applications across the company, and earned 346 patents in material science. In 2016, the company established GE Additive to become a leading supplier of additive technology, materials and services for industries and businesses worldwide.

Oerlikon is an AM market leader with deep expertise in advanced materials, AM production, post processing and surface solutions. Leveraging its global service network and strong customer relationships across many industries, Oerlikon is well positioned to drive the industrialization of AM as an integrated materials and service provider. In 2016, Oerlikon acquired Citim GMBH to complement its additive production capabilities in Europe and the USA. Oerlikon is also building a state-of-the-art AM powder production facility in Plymouth, Michigan (USA); a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility in Charlotte, NC (USA) and a world-class R&D and innovation centre in Munich, Germany.