GE plans to invest $1.4B to acquire 3D printing companies

General Electric Co. announced plans to acquire two suppliers of additive manufacturing equipment for a total of $1.4 billion.

The two suppliers — Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group AG — will report to David Joyce, the president and CEO of GE Aviation. Joyce will lead the growth of these businesses in the additive manufacturing equipment and services industry, according to a company news release.

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GE expects to grow the new additive business — also called 3D printing — to $1 billion by 2020 at attractive returns and also expects $3 to $5 billion of product cost-out across the company over the next 10 years.

In July, GE Aviation — headquartered in Evendale near Cincinnati — introduced its first additive jet engine component into airline services. The jet component is a “complex fuel nozzle interior,” which works within the LEAP jet engine.

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“Additive provides a new palette for engineers to create. Parts are also being designed in GE Power, Oil & Gas, Healthcare and across GE’s services businesses,” Joyce said. “We see value potential to reduce product cost and improve NPI spend. Ultimately, as we develop more productive machines, we can build additive manufacturing ‘as a service’ for our customers.”

Arcam and SLM will bolster GE’s existing material science and additive manufacturing capabilities. GE has invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies since 2010, according to the company.

Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, said additive manufacturing is a “key part of GE’s evolution” into a digital industrial company.

“We are creating a more productive world with our innovative world-class machines, materials and software. We are poised to not only benefit from this movement as a customer, but spearhead it as a leading supplier,” he said. “Additive manufacturing will drive new levels of productivity for GE, our customers, including a wide array of additive manufacturing customers, and for the industrial world.”

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GE Aviation is Ohio’s largest manufacturing employer, according to state records. GE anchors an aerospace parts manufacturing industry that employs thousands in the region, including two locations in Dayton.

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