GE Additive has launched a network of additive manufacturing production partners, known as the Manufacturing Partner Network (MPN), which will assist companies in using additive manufacturing for volume production.
The network will be made up of Manufacturing Partners, a select group of additive manufacturing specialists from across a number of regions who understand the capabilities and future of additive manufacturing. The first three companies to become Manufacturing Partners are Burloak Technologies, Carpenter Technology and Proto Labs.
According to GE Additive, the MPN will take an ecosystem approach to addressing several commercial challenges in order to ensure that the additive manufacturing industry reaches its next inflection point. In addition the MPN aims to create an open, competitive marketplace that will accelerate both supply and demand for additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing is now being increasingly considered as a tool for volume production, as experts confirmed at the international laser congress AKL this year. Companies are therefore looking for cost-efficient, scalable routes towards volume production, however limited access to equipment, funding and expertise often prevents them from taking the next critical steps.
‘We know first-hand that the transition from prototyping to volume production is possibly the biggest step on any company’s additive journey and that can be daunting,’ said Jason Oliver, president & CEO of GE Additive. ‘The MPN is designed to give companies a range of options to help them progress and continue innovating by connecting them with a choice of trusted additive production partners to give them peace of mind, in a cost-efficient way.’
While the Manufacturing Partners of the network will help companies achieve volume additive production, they themselves will benefit from: a generation of demand via a network of OEMs and revenue opportunities generated by GE Additive’s sales teams; knowledge sharing across the MPN; and new GE Additive technologies and innovations that will be made available to them for testing, the feedback of which will be incorporated into future product development.
In addition to also receiving marketing support, the Manufacturing Partners will also be able to use the GE monogram on all sales, marketing and promotional materials, communications channels and buildings.
‘Burloak Technologies is proud to be a launch partner for GE’s Manufacturing Partner Network,’ said Peter Adams, co-founder and president of Burloak Technologies. ‘We have developed a strategic plan for the industrialisation of additive manufacturing. Our participation in GE’s MPN strengthens this plan and will allow us to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing in the market.’
GE Additive’s Customer Experience Centers in Munich and Pittsburg will continue to support customers with prototyping and low volume production, but will also act as a bridge to the MPN, which is a natural extension for those customers ready to move towards volume production.
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Adding up in Aachen - Matthew Dale reports from the International Laser Technology Congress, AKL, where the potential for using additive manufacturing in series production was discussed