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Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “I really applaud GE. They really are sticking their neck out and showing what’s pos- sible. Depending on their success…there are other com- panies seriously looking at additive. In the next three to fi ve years, there’s going to be a barrage of [3D printed] parts.” Besides the increased durability, the GE nozzles, which supply fuel to a jet engine, will consist of one part instead of 20, reducing the number of brazes and welds that would have been needed with traditional manufacturing. With DMLM, parts are made by melting together thin lay- ers of metal powder.
The company announced in July 2014 it was investing $50 million at an existing Auburn plant to prepare for 3D printing the nozzle interiors. The plant may have as many as 10 3D printers and occupy a third of the factory at full capacity. The Auburn plant opened in April 2013 and hired more than 70 people by the time of the July announce- ment. GE expects to hire 300 people at Auburn when the plant reaches maximum output later this decade. GE also is looking at extending 3D printing to other parts. “We’re going to have to do a complete evaluation
General Electric Co.’s 3D printed fuel nozzle is considered a major development in the aerospace industry.