Stratasys Ltd has announced its partnership with FirstBuild, a GE affiliate. The partnership combines co-creation and micro-manufacturing to build and commercialize the next evolution of various GE appliances and accessories by leveraging 3D printing, and other advanced manufacturing processes in an open innovation approach to engineering.
GE Appliances, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, in collaboration with Local Motors, established FirstBuild, a new model for the appliance industry aimed to allow concepts to rapidly reach the marketplace. Individuals design and submit ideas, and a community of home enthusiasts, designers, engineers, and makers tests out the ideas and creates the products with the help of Stratasys 3D printing technology. FirstBuild will then manufacture and deliver the next generation of major home appliances to customers.
“We believe that the prospects of tapping into the hardware innovation scene are very promising,” says Gilad Gans, President of Stratasys North America. “This is an outstanding opportunity to help revolutionize the way things are made. This is an open-innovation environment where FirstBuild users will be able to use our cutting-edge technology to accelerate product development phases and create real products.”
Stratasys 3D Printers will go to work in the FirstBuild micro-factory located in Louisville, Kentucky, which is where ideas may come to grow into real products. 3D printing along with woodworking, welding, and other tools will be used to test and build the initial products. The micro-factory will produce products and sell them through FirstBuild’s website and retail store located at the micro-factory, and through traditional retail channels.
“Incorporating Stratasys’ leading additive manufacturing technology into our micro-factory capabilities provides an enormous benefit in both product development and production by saving us time, money and resources,” said Natarajan “Venkat” Venkatakrishnan, Director of FirstBuild and Director of Advanced Technologies for GE Appliances. “It will also give the University of Louisville engineering students and others who work on this equipment at FirstBuild a significant advantage as they pursue jobs in technical fields.” Watch Venkat discuss the 3D printing systems that FirstBuild uses in its goal to rapidly produce a new generation of home appliances:
Filed Under: Appliance engineering + home automation, Rapid prototyping