LEAP engine photo courtesy of GE Aviation. The engine is seen here during an evaluation at the company’s Peebles Test Operation.
In a recent article in MMS’s Additive Manufacturing supplement, engineers with GE Aviation were candid about not only the promise of additive manufacturing technology, but also its challenges. One of the challenges they described relates to the size of the supplier base. There is not currently enough capacity in North America, in GE Aviation’s preferred method of additive metal manufacturing, to accommodate just the demand that GE Aviation by itself expects to have for this mode of production.
Not long after that article appeared, GE announced a move aimed at addressing this very challenge. Located in the Cincinnati area near GE Aviation’s Evendale, Ohio, headquarters is a leading supplier of contract additive manufacturing services—Morris Technologies. In order to secure this company’s capacity for its own use, GE Aviation acquired Morris Technologies and sister company Rapid Quality Manufacturing (RQM).
I see this move as noteworthy on multiple levels. I’ve spent time with Greg Morris of Morris Technologies, and I couldn’t be happier for the success he’s achieved, and this validation of the business he’s built. More broadly, I see this development as strong evidence for the view that additive manufacturing will continue to gain acceptance as an option for discrete-parts production.
For GE, the move was natural. GE Aviation has worked closely with Morris Technologies for more than a decade. There has been plenty of time to get to know both Morris and RQM, and to recognize the worth of these firms.
Randy Kappesser, composites technology leader with GE Aviation, was involved in the Morris/RQM acquisition and will continue to be involved as these companies are integrated into GE. He recently responded to questions about this acquisition and what it signifies. Read the interview here.