GE Additive launches Manufacturing Partner Network with Protolabs, Carpenter and Burloak

More 3D printing news from this week’s Farnborough International Airshow as GE Additive launches a Manufacturing Partner Network (MPN).

The MPN is described by GE Additive as an “Ecosystem approach” that will create “an open, competitive market”. The goal of the MPN is to tackle several issues the 3D printing industry must resolve before the next inflection point can be reached.

Specifically, how to help customers additively manufacture components at a higher volume.

As our series looking at trends in additive manufacturing for end-use production noted these issues are multiple, and faced by many across the industry. Challenges include access to hardware, funding and expertise. A further challenge, says GE Additive, is seen in the current level of demand for industrial 3D printed components.

Jason Oliver, President & CEO, GE Additive, said, “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. 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.”

A GE engineer removing metal powder from a Concept Laser additive manufacturing system. Photo via GE Additive,
A GE engineer working

Proto Labs, Burloak and Carpenter named as initial partners in GE network

The MPN will include a range of Manufacturing Partners or MPs. Initial MPs were announced today as Burloak Technologies, Carpenter Co and Proto Labs Inc.

GE Additive expects partners to benefit from membership of the network in several ways. These include increased demand for MP services via “revenue opportunities” created by the GE Additive sales team, knowledge sharing and access to GE’s 150 consultants under the AddWorks brand and support in co-marketing campaigns – including the use of GE branding.

While the MPN is intended to service customers who require high volumes of 3D printed components, the GE Additive Customer Experience Centers in Munich and Pittsburg will serve as a sales funnel. These centers will, “act as a bridge to the MPN, which is a natural extension for those customers ready to take the next step.”

Peter Adams, Co-founder and President of Burloak Technologies, said,  “Burloak Technologies is proud to be a launch partner for GE’s Manufacturing Partner Network.”

 “We have developed a strategic plan for the industrialization of additive manufacturing. Our participation in GE’s MPN strengthens this plan and will allow us to accelerate the the adoption of additive manufacturing in the market.”

Burloak also recently announced construction of a new $80M (C$104M) Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, where it will continue to invest in the technologies and equipment to position itself to produce parts from start to finish. Commencing in Q3’2018 Burloak will purchase  GE Additive equipment, materials, software and technology. This investment will be used both by Burloak and also for “offload capacity for GE’s additive manufacturing requirements.”

Protolabs has a sizeable manufacturing capacity and in addition to 3D printing offers injection molding and CNC milling. Spanning 750,000 square feet at multiple sites in Europe and North America Protolabs has over 600 CNC mills, 225+ injection molding presses and 150+ industrial additive manufacturing machines. The Maple Plain, Minnesota based company generated  $344.5 million in revenues during 2017 and now has tens of tens of thousands of customers in over 160 countries.

Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Protolabs. Photo via Protolabs

“We take pride in having been in the additive manufacturing industry for nearly 20 years, and we are excited to partner with GE Additive to further advance and democratize access to industrial-grade additive manufacturing technologies and materials,” said Vicki Holt, President and CEO, Protolabs.

Jason Oliver, President and CEO, GE Additive, added“We already enjoy a strong relationship with Protolabs, so I’m thrilled that they will part of the MPN from day one. We share a similar set of beliefs around providing access to technology and experts, the transformative impact of additive and the power of collaboration and ecosystems.”

3D Printing Industry will be at the Farnborough International Airshow all week. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about industrial 3D printing in the aerospace sector.

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Featured image shows the GE Additive and Burloak Signing. Photo via GE Additive.