New technology enables high-speed metal fabrication with GE’s 3D printing technology
Engine and power system manufacturer Cummins is stepping closer to automated Industry 4.0 production capabilities with the adoption of GE’s Binder Jet 3D metal printing technology, which speeds the process of parts fabrication.
The Lowdown: Cummins says the adoption of GE’s Binder Jet technology is a part of its Industry 4.0 strategy that leverages 3D printing, cloud computing, automation, and data-driven technology. With the binding technology that makes metal 3D printing possible, Cummins says it has greater capabilities for fabricating new designs at scale and with less cost. Cummins’ ability to produce low-volume parts on-demand at a lower cost will curb customer maintenance costs as well.
The Details: The GE Binder Jet technology works much like conventional plastic and acrylic 3D printers, with the heads moving over moldable materials one layer at a time to form shapes. The materials in Binder Jet printers are metal-based powers. The printer deposits liquid binding agents to the power to shape the material into metal. Depending on the complexity of the finished material and product design, the Binder Jet can render parts 60 to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printers.
The Impact: 3D printing in manufacturing at scale is in its infancy. 3D printer vendors and manufacturers like Cummins believe the evolution and maturation of industrial 3D printing technology will revolutionize production processes, making products more accessible and expediting the design and time to market for new products. Some analysts dub this the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Background: Cummins is a GE partner, and the development of Binder Jet is part of the GE Additive technology program. Cummins sees additive technology as a means for accelerating the digitalization of its manufacturing process. As a GE partner, Cummins is an early adopter of the 3D Binder Jet technology. GE expects the technology, currently in pilot lines, to become generally available in 2021.
The Buzz: “By investing in 3D metal additive technologies from GE Additive, we are investing in Cummins and our customers,” said Tim Millwood, vice president of Global Manufacturing at Cummins. “This technology has the potential to provide our customers with a quicker, lower-cost production method that ultimately uses less energy, which means we can better serve our customers and reduce our environmental impact.”
Channelnomics Point of View: The Cummins-GE partnership in the development of new 3D printer technologies and use cases is an example of how technology vendors and traditional manufacturers are working together to create new products and services. Industrial IoT, which includes 3D printing in manufacturing, represents a massive opportunity for new technology sales and integration with legacy systems. In 2019, businesses will spend $245 billion on integration of industrial IoT systems with legacy technologies.