GE announces major expansion of 3D metal printing firm
GE is focused on growing Concept Laser's headquarters and employee base while investing in next-gen additive equipment and materials.
GE is quickly expanding its additive manufacturing footprint. Less than three months after acquiring controlling ownership of Concept Laser GmbH of Germany, GE is supporting the firm by expanding its headquarters, growing its employee base and support team while investing in next-generation additive equipment and materials.
The company had about 200 employees when GE first took a controlling interest. With this new directive, employment expected to reach between 350 to 400 people (mostly engineers and technicians) by early 2018.
Concept Laser is enhancing its field service operations in the United States and Germany, and adding engineers in such areas as production, quality control, development and test.
Meanwhile, architectural concepts are being finalized for a significant expansion of the headquarters in Lichtenfels, Germany, with new floor space for manufacturing, product development and test, and administration.
“Over several years, Concept Laser grew quickly and established a strong reputation with our innovations,” said Frank Herzog, company president who began working on metals for the additive process in the mid-1990s, co-founded Concept Laser with his wife Kerstin in 2000, and commercialized the first metal additive manufacturing machine in 2001.
“GE is enabling us to grow our infrastructure and bring more robust processes and greater resources to our operations. Our immediate focus is to mature our machines and apply the additional resources to improve customer responsiveness and mature, grow, and improve our product offerings.”
In addition to the Lichtenfels headquarters, Concept Laser has significant operations in the United States (Grapevine, Texas), China, and a global network of distributors and agents.
Concept Laser is collaborating with the GE Additive Technology Center (ATC) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here, GE engineers are identifying where additive manufacturing can be used to mass-produce sophisticated components for industrial products, including components for jet engines produced by GE Aviation, a world-leading end user of additive manufacturing technology.
“ATC is a critical piece of the puzzle for Concept Laser,” Herzog said. “We’ve been a manufacturer of the machines and materials for years, but ATC is giving us new insights into the process of product and materials qualification because GE is such an important end user of the technology. The learning is tremendous and will accelerate the development process.”