Efficient Plant July 2018 - 6

column | editorial

Additive
Manufacturing
Drives
GE Power
Efforts
Gary L. Parr
Editorial Director

GE's massive turbine-testing facility has
railroad tracks that allow a turbine-loaded
rail car to deliver it to the test area where
mechanical jacks lift the turbine off of the
car. This is what could be seen of a turbine
undergoing testing.

6

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

J

UNE 2018 WAS an interesting
month for GE (ge.com). On the
19th, the Boston-based corporation was removed from the Dow Jones
Industrial Average after a 110-yr. run.
On the 26th, GE's chairman and CEO
announced yet another restructuring
that whittled the once-formidable player
in a multitude of industries down to
aviation, power, and renewables.
I doubt that the timing was planned,
but two weeks prior, I visited GE's Greenville, SC, facility. The location houses the
company's Advanced Manufacturing
Works, Combustion Lab, Repair Development Center, and other operations, all
focused on development/support for GE's
gas turbines.
If the person who dies with the most
toys is the winner, there's a good chance
the industrial victor will come from
Greenville. They have all of the "toys" and
people who know how to use them.
The turbine-testing building is a monstrous facility, able to receive a flatbed rail
car loaded with one of those giant power
generators. When a "patient" is strapped
in for testing, there are so many pipes and
ducts connected to it that you can hardly
see the actual turbine.
The combustion lab is equally impressive. Engineers are able to test any fuel
source capable of driving a turbine, even
raw crude oil straight out of the ground.
Yes, they actually figured out how to burn
that black goop for a Middle East country
that wanted to use it because it was free
and convenient.
But the most impressive aspect of the
company's Greenville operations, and the
one that should be of interest to people in
all industries, is what they are doing with
additive manufacturing (3D printing).
That technology was mentioned in just

about every presentation and has clearly
become a major part of the Greenville
fabric.
The additive-manufacturing lab
is equipped to use five 3D-printing
techniques-fused-deposition modeling,
stereo lithography, direct-metal laser
melting, direct-metal laser deposition,
and binder jetting. Personnel use the
techniques to develop parts/designs and
produce repair parts for customers. The
primary advantage is obvious; they can
generate accurate, performance-grade
parts without the months of time and the
significant expense involved in producing
conventional castings. Engineers are also
able to produce part shapes/designs that
are not easily or simply can't be made with
casting technology. This ability is particularly powerful for repair/replacement
parts because they can often deliver an
upgraded part and/or a part that provides
additional features, thereby improving
turbine performance.
Casting hasn't been completely eliminated, however. Some combustion-area
components can't be printed because the
technology doesn't allow the use of materials that can withstand the tremendous
heat generated in turbines. But, when
casting must be done, additive technology
still plays a role. In some cases, GE engineers are printing ceramic shapes of the
parts that greatly shorten the moldmaking/casting process.
I have no idea whether this latest
iteration of GE will work from a business
perspective, but what I saw in Greenville
certainly gives the company the tools to
advance the power-turbine half of their
new configuration. More important, the
technology and what is being learned in
Greenville clearly can be fertile ground for
growth into other areas. EP

JULY 2018


http://www.ge.com http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant July 2018

Editorial
Implementations
Find Gold In Sustainable Manufacturing
Troubleshoot Control Systems Effectively
Automation Accelerates Beer Production
Lubed Chains Live Long Lives
SAP: Use These Tools For PM Compliance
Protect Your Site From Cyber Attacks
Build The Value Of Your CM Program
Choose The Correct Acclerometer
On The Floor
Intelligent Design Process Delivers For Substation
Solution Focus
Old Compressor Gets New Lease On Life
Products
Index
Showcase
Seeking Reliability
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Cover1
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Cover2
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 1
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 2
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 3
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 4
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 5
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Editorial
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 7
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Implementations
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 9
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Find Gold In Sustainable Manufacturing
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 11
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 12
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 13
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 14
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 15
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 16
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 17
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Troubleshoot Control Systems Effectively
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 19
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 20
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 21
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Automation Accelerates Beer Production
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 23
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 24
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 25
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 26
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Lubed Chains Live Long Lives
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 28
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 29
Efficient Plant July 2018 - SAP: Use These Tools For PM Compliance
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Protect Your Site From Cyber Attacks
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Build The Value Of Your CM Program
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Choose The Correct Acclerometer
Efficient Plant July 2018 - On The Floor
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 35
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Solution Focus
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 37
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 38
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 39
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Old Compressor Gets New Lease On Life
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 41
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Products
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 43
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 44
Efficient Plant July 2018 - 45
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Index
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Showcase
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Seeking Reliability
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Cover3
Efficient Plant July 2018 - Cover4
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