GKN plc (LSE:GKN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE Additive (NYSE: GE), Concept Laser and Arcam AB to collaborate on Additive Manufacturing (AM). Under the agreement, GKN becomes a GE Additive development and production centre as well as a preferred powder supplier, while GE and its affiliated companies will supply additive machines and services to GKN.
Jos Sclater, Head of Strategy at GKN, said: “We look forward to collaborating with GE Additive on this revolutionary technology. GKN has a strong history of producing and certifying AM parts and powder, and this distinctive dual expertise enables us to create competitive solutions for our customers. By working together, GKN and GE can accelerate future developments in additive manufacturing and meet the growing demand we’re seeing across a range of industries.”
As part of the agreement some of the activities include:
- GKN will become a GE Additive development and production partner for a range of powder bed and free form deposition technologies.
- GE Additive and its affiliated companies will become non-exclusive preferred suppliers of AM machines to GKN and its affiliates.
- GKN will collaborate with GE Additive on part development projects on powder bed machines to enable new market opportunities.
- GKN will become a non-exclusive preferred supplier of powder to GE Additive and GE’s industrial businesses.
- GE Additive’s Engineering Consulting Team (known as “AddWorks”) will assist GKN and its affiliates with the acceleration and industrialization of AM machines.
Vice President and General Manager of GE Additive, Mohammad Ehteshami said: “GE Additive and GKN both understand the transformative power that additive manufacturing will have to a range of industries. Additive machines from Concept Laser and Arcam will bring tremendous value to this GKN relationship and we look forward to collaborating more closely in the future.”
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.
GKN is a global engineering group, operating from more than 150 manufacturing locations in over 30 countries. GKN has been a global leader in AM for decades, with aerospace components produced, certified and flying on seven major platforms today, as well as a world-leader in AM automotive parts and a specialist powder producer.
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.