GE Oil & Gas to Use Robotics and 3D Printing in Futuristic Plant

Published May 27, 2016
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Nozzle polishing - GE-Oil-Gas
Nozzle automatic polishing with robot in the GE Oil & Gas Talamona plant (photo: GE)

Two new high-tech component production lines at the GE Oil & Gas plant in Talamona, Italy, have been inaugurated. A new nozzle production line is the first completely automated line for GE Oil & Gas, and a new additive manufacturing line will use laser technology to 3D print burners for gas turbine combustion chambers. These new advanced manufacturing lines establishes this site as a centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry.

The official unveiling of the upgraded turbine and compressor components manufacturing facility is the result of a EUR 10 million, two years’ investment to establish the plant as one of its most cutting production centres. Previous investments in 2013 increased the plant’s production capacity.

The new nozzle production line is the first completely automated line in a GE Oil & Gas plant. It utilises two anthropomorphic robots capable of employing 10 different technologies, including electrical discharge machining, measurement and laser beam welding. With this new line, GE Oil & Gas will be able to produce components in Talamona that it previously purchased from third-party suppliers

GE Oil & Gas is pioneering the industry’s foray into additive manufacturing which offers increased speed and accuracy in component production. The technology, also utilised heavily in the aviation, medical and design industries, represents the next frontier for energy manufacturing. After extensive validation of additive during prototyping of the NovaLT16 gas turbine, GE decided to move the technology into full production, leveraging the design enhancement capabilities, cycle time reduction and improved product quality.

The site is also managed with state-of-the-art software with the capacity not only to schedule activities, but also to support maintenance activity that is no longer simply “preventative” but “predictive”.

“The use of automated production and new techniques like additive manufacturing allow us to develop parts and products more efficiently, precisely and cost-effectively, accelerating the speed at which we can bring product to market. Our investment in these technologies at this site reflects our ongoing commitment to combine cutting edge technology and new manufacturing processes to lower cost and accelerate the innovation, speed and performance of industrial products.” says Davide Marrani, General Manager Manufacturing for business Turbomachinery Solutions at GE Oil & Gas. “Our commitment to ongoing research and innovation is key to meet our clients’ ever-changing needs.”

“The opportunities for the application of additive manufacturing and 3D printing in the oil and gas industry are only just starting to be explored, and it will require an ongoing rethink of component design and production approach,” says Massimiliano Cecconi, GE Oil & Gas Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Executive. “GE Oil & Gas is fostering the development of this technology to produce complex components for gas turbines, while cutting costs, boosting performance and reducing emissions.”

The new production lines are already working and will be fully operational by the start of 2017.

Tags: GE Oil & Gas


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