GE is bringing the concept of additive manufacturing -- also known as 3-D printing -- to the aerospace industry, says Luana Iorio, manufacturing technology leader for the company.
Iorio says the reason the company is moving aggressively into this area because of the inherent advantages of additive manufacturing in both design and construction.
"Additive manufacturing allows you to design parts more creatively," Iorio said. "It also cuts down on the amount of waste in the actual construction process because you're adding material rather than having to take it away."
This savings is particularly helpful in aerospace, where some of the parts are difficult to design. Additive manufacturing allows the parts to remain high performance while being lighter.
"We're able to take some of the constraints off the designers," Iorio said. "They're able to think of new geometries and shapes that wouldn't be possible in traditional manufacturing. It's opening up whole new worlds."
GE has added a new laboratory to its GE Global Research Division that will be solely devoted to the process. In addition to aviation, GE is applying additive manufacturing to other divisions, including healthcare.
Watch a video of the process below