3D printing technology to help produce jet engine parts

The world’s largest jet engine maker Rock Hill, South Carolina based General Electric (GE) is turning to 3D printing to make airplane parts. More specifically it is trying to build more than 85,000 fuel nozzles for its Leap engines using 3D printers. It bought 3D printing company Morris Technologies last year and spent millions of other dollars on other acquisitions and hardware. GE is not alone in this field and Boeing, Nike, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce are also using the technology and making substantial investments to improve it. They all expect to get required parts faster, at a higher quality and lower cost.

3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects using an additive process where layers of material are laid to make the final product. Some compare it to an industrial robot. The technology has been around since the 1980s but commercial availability of printers became widely used in 2010s. Some estimates the 3D printer market equal to about $2.2 billion a year industry. GE’s biggest problem at the moment is finding industrial grade systems capable of producing metal parts. 3D Systems is the largest maker of 3d printers in the United States.