Already considered to be on the forefront of new technologies, GE Oil & Gas is upping its tech game by introducing robotics and 3-D printing to its manufacturing processes. The company recently unveiled two new high-tech component production processes at its plant in Talamona, Italy. A 10-million-euro investment bought GE Oil & Gas an automated nozzle production line and an additive manufacturing line that will 3-D print gas turbine combustion chambers.
“The use of automated production and new techniques like additive manufacturing allow us to develop parts and products more efficiently, precisely and cost-effectively, accelerating the speed at which we can bring product to market,” says Davide Marrani, general manager of GE Oil & Gas’s Turbomachinery Solutions.
“Our investment in these technologies at this site reflects our ongoing commitment to combine cutting-edge technology and new manufacturing processes to lower cost and accelerate the innovation, speed and performance of industrial products.”
The nozzle production line is the first at GE Oil & Gas to be fully automated. It uses two human-like robots to carry out 10 different processes, including electrical discharge machining, measuring and laser beam welding. With this new line, the company will be able to produce components in Talamona that it previously purchased from a third-party supplier.
The additive manufacturing line’s 3-D laser printer will increase the speed and accuracy of the company’s component production. The technology is already used in the aviation, medical and design industries, and GE thinks it can also revolutionize the oil and gas manufacturing sector.
“The opportunities for the application of additive manufacturing and 3-D printing in the oil and gas industry are only just starting to be explored,” says Massimiliano Cecconi, a materials and manufacturing technologies executive at GE Oil & Gas. “It will require an ongoing rethink of component design and production approach.”
These futuristic updates were two years in the making after investments were made in 2013 to increase the plant’s production capacity. Both lines are already in use and are expected to be fully operational by early 2017.
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