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NEWS DESK


out in his own yellow FANUC uniform, guiding some robotic activities from behind a pendant controller. In the past year, FANUC and Inaba have made an effort


to let more visitors into its factories to show how FANUC is being modernized, but also to demonstrate the role FANUC is playing in modernizing manufacturing overall. A new global wave of automation and smart manufacturing


has FANUC expanding rapidly around the world and especially in North America, as the tentacles of automation reach deeper into areas of manufacturing not previously thought ripe for it, as well as new markets entirely. —Editor-in-Chief Sarah A. Webster


G


GE Gets Boost from 3D Printing and Crowdsourcing


eneral Electric Co. found a way to cut to three from 31 the number of parts used to make the fuel nozzle for its new LEAP engine—by turning to additive manufacturing.


“That’s essentially because we’re getting around certain design constraints in traditional manufacturing,” Stephan Biller, chief manufacturing scientist at GE Global Research, told a standing-room-only crowd at the Mfg4 conference in May at Hartford, CT.


In addition to believing that “additive manufacturing is going to change the world” and acting on that belief, GE is finding ways to digitize—in the biggest possible way—its search for new designs.


As an experiment, the conglomerate recently posted on


the crowdsourcing platform GrabCAD requests for designs to cut the weight of a bracket it had used in aviation for about 20 years, Biller said. It dangled $20,000 for the win- ning design and expected to get about 25 submissions. “Turns out, we got almost 700,” he said. And the winning


design, from a person in Indonesia who had “very little formal engineering training,” cut the bracket’s weight by 84%. Biller, who is among 30 smart manufacturing leaders pro- filed in the premier issue of Smart Manufacturing magazine


16 AdvancedManufacturing.org | June 2016


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