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GE, Maker Community Explore ‘Future of Manufacturing’

Officials at Fairfield-based General Electric Co. are soliciting the help of the maker community in helping to shape the future of manufacturing in the US.

Leveraging the power of crowdsourcing, GE recently announced a competition inviting “makers,” entrepreneurs and small companies to design hardware and parts using 3-D printer technology, also known as additive manufacturing.

“GE is making a massive investment in additive manufacturing,” Emily Iwan, a spokesperson for GE, said. “We see it as the future of manufacturing.”

As the new technology takes off, those using 3-D printers are, for the most part, split between major corporations and hobbyists, often associated with the national maker movement. Makers comprise anyone with a propensity to build, ranging from artisans and craftsmen to engineers and scientists.

Thousands of hobbyists have taken to 3-D printing, which someday could supplant certain forms of traditional manufacturing due to the relatively low cost of the technology.

The threat to major goods suppliers is obvious. But rather than cower, GE has embraced the community of engineers, asking them to help “push the boundaries of what is 3-D printable.”

The full text of the article by Jennifer Bissell appeared in the Fairfield County Business Journal.Related articles

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