Industrial 3D printer manufacturer GE Additive has announced a Binder Jet public-private partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana’s lead economic development agency.
The contract is ultimately intended to help commercialize GE’s newly developed H2 binder jetting system, all while advancing the state’s wider manufacturing capabilities. Specifically, the pair have agreed to co-invest in R&D for the technology, which includes factory automation, software development, and manufacturing readiness for the region.
Christine Furstoss, CTO of GE Additive, states: “We’re excited by the opportunity presented to us by IEDC. Binder Jet is one of the most dynamic areas within additive manufacturing today, and one that the automotive and mobility industry in particular is watching closely.”
The Binder Jet beta partner program
With GE’s Binder Jet beta partner program quickly gaining traction, the company has now partnered with six major organizations in the technology and automotive sectors. The program aims to rapidly grow the company’s binder jetting technology, starting with the commercial launch of its prototype H2 system next year.
The state of Indiana is of particular interest to GE as it is a focal point for manufacturing in the U.S., with 8500 manufacturing facilities and the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the country. Looking at automotive specifically, Indiana is home to over 500 suppliers and five major OEMs, and generates the country’s second largest automotive GDP.
Furstoss adds: “Given Indiana’s strong automotive manufacturing focus, we have high hopes that this partnership will tap into its abundant seam of innovation and spark new forward-thinking applications – especially in the field of automation and software development.”
As an extension to the beta partner program, the R&D partnership with IEDC will yield a new test bed to work with future partners, customers, and SMEs in Indiana to further innovate binder jetting.
The Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center
Under the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement initiative, the IEDC also recently set aside $3M to establish a new Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center (EMC2) in the 16 Tech Innovation District by summer 2021. The facility will act as a physical space for Indiana’s manufacturers to train their employees on advanced manufacturing equipment such as GE’s H2. The space will also be used to undergo contract manufacturing, as well as allowing OEMs to promote their new systems.
GE and IEDC will also run a virtual industry day on December 8 to further elaborate on the partnership and its potential sub-projects. The partners will discuss the broader technology and economic benefits to Indiana, and how the EMC2 will improve the state’s manufacturing competitiveness. Readers interested in attending the event to hear from binder jetting experts, see demos of the H2 system, and participate in technical workshops can do so here.
Earlier this year, binder jetting OEM ExOne also announced the commencement of five similar projects with Pennsylvania universities to advance various aspects of binder jet 3D printing. The R&D projects are all being funded through the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program set up by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
Elsewhere, simulation software developer Simufact recently announced the launch of a simulation tool for metal binder jetting in its Simufact Additive program. Users of the software will be able to predict and prevent – at the design phase – the distortion effects that sintering, often used in post-processing, may have on binder jetted parts.
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Featured image shows binder jetting at a GE facility. Photo via GE Additive.