GE’s Industrial Solutions (IW 500/7) business’ new Advanced Manufacturing Lab (AML), located in Plainville, Conn., is staffed with robotics and automated manufacturing systems in order to design and build production lines for the new GuardEon molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) platform. The platform will be launched in 2015, the company announced on November 20.
“The new lab is another example of GE’s investment in the future of our electrical distribution business to better serve our customers,” said Bob Gilligan, CEO of GE’s Industrial Solutions business. "While six months ago this space was simply offices and cubicles, today, the 8,000-square-foot area is filled with hands-on, real-world innovative manufacturing design and development tools employed by a highly energized and experienced team of advanced manufacturing engineers."
GE’s new lab models future production lines for the GuardEon circuit breaker that incorporate advanced technologies including some of the first Occupational Health and Safety Administration-approved advanced manufacturing robots, utilizing smart-response movements to help safely and intelligently work directly alongside operators in a manufacturing environment, the company said.
The AML also features 4-by-6-foot “moonshine” tables outfitted with programmable logic controllers and pneumatics. The tables serve as experimental design pods for inventing enhanced manufacturing operations to meet strict TAKT times, a critical measurement linking production-cycle times to customer-demand rates.
Within the next 24 months, GE will completely reinvent and revitalize its MCCB offering to provide a modern, comprehensive, global industrial circuit breaker portfolio. Available in 2015, GuardEon will be a platform of four frames, accessories and trip units designed and launched in less than three years — significantly faster than typical industry development time. This accelerated delivery schedule will be achieved using GE’s FastWorks methodology to speed development while incorporating continuous customer feedback throughout the design and development process.
FastWorks is a fundamentally different and innovative concept created by GE. Inspired by the best-selling business book, The Lean Start Up, by Eric Ries, it’s built on the premise of bringing the agility, nimbleness and passion of a start up to more mature companies like GE to deliver better products to market faster.
The company also announced on November 20 that it is building a new Circuit Breaker Center of Excellence (COE) in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where GuardEon will be produced.