3D printing manufacturing to create 300 Auburn jobs - WRBL

3D printing manufacturing to create 300 Auburn jobs

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Ge Aviation to create hundreds of Auburn jobs when they bring 3D printing manufacturing to their facility. (Photo: Tuskegee University) Ge Aviation to create hundreds of Auburn jobs when they bring 3D printing manufacturing to their facility. (Photo: Tuskegee University)
AUBURN, Ala. - A $50 million expansion project at GE Aviation in Auburn is expected to create 300 people over the coming months, the company announced Tuesday. The company will begin mass producing fuel nozzles for the jet propulsion industry using new 3D printing technology.

"GE Aviation’s decision to launch a 3-D printing initiative at its Auburn plant speaks volumes about the ability of an Alabama workforce to carry out cutting-edge manufacturing," Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said. "This is tomorrow’s technology, and we are proud to say it will be performed right here in Alabama."

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that cut away from a slab of metal to produce a part, additive manufacturing - commonly referred to as 3D printing - "grows" parts using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser, the company explains. The result is complex, fully dense parts without the waste, manufactured in a fraction of the time it would take using other methods.

Equipment installation will begin in late 2014 and production of "printed" components will begin in 2015, the company said. By the end of 2015, the plant could have as many as 10 printing machines with the potential to grow to more than 50 printers and occupy a third of the facility at full capacity. Production will ramp up over the next five years, going from 1,000 fuel nozzles manufactured annually to more than 40,000 by 2020.

“We spent years proving out this technology for a critical component in the heart of the engine, the combustion chamber,” said Greg Morris, General Manager, Additive Technologies. “Now we are well positioned to apply this technology to other components in the same harsh environment which could prove to be game changing for future engine programs and designs.”

Since opening in April of 2013, GE has hired more than 70 people. By the time this project is completed, the company will have invested $125 million into its Auburn operations.

“We are delighted that GE Aviation has chosen Auburn, Alabama for this advanced technology manufacturing operation. We are partners and look forward to many years of a fruitful relationship,” said Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.

The facility will also continue to manufacture precision, super-alloy machined parts for jet engines.

James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

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