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GE Unveils Long-Awaited Large Metal Printer

The machine is designed to make complex parts for the aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas industries.

Yesterday, at the formnext show in Frankfurt, Germany, GE Additive unveiled its first BETA machine from the company's Project A.T.L.A.S. initiative. The machine was built in nine months and it is designed to make complex parts for the aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas industries. 

The printer is a meter-class, laser powder-bed fusion machine, which means that it can print large, high-resolution metal components as long as they fit into the machine’s print bed of 1.1 x 1.1 x 0.3M (x,y,z). The Z-axis can be scaled to 1 M and more given the machine’s scalable architecture.

Project A.T.L.A.S, which stands for Additive Technology Large Area System, is the name of GE Additive’s effort to develop nextgen large additive manufacturing machines. And GE is taking it seriously, investing nearly $3 billion in manufacturing and additive tech over the last 10 years.

Last year, the company acquired a controlling stake in two companies: German metal additive manufacturing pioneer Concept Laser -- if you notice the new machine bears the Concept name in photos --- and Arcam, a Swedish company that invented electron beam melting machines for metal additive manufacturing.

The BETA machines are now in the hands of a select few customers and should be available sometime in 2018. The machines will be manufactured at Concept’s facility in Germany as well as Cincinnati, Ohio.

This is IEN Now with David Mantey.

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