EBM 3D Printing Takes Center Stage With New Center Of Excellence

By on August 25th, 2019 in Corporate

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 GE Additive Arcam EBM Center of Excellence in Sweden [Image: GE Additive]
GE Additive Arcam EBM Center of Excellence in Sweden [Image: GE Additive]

The newest major 3D printing Center of Excellence has opened in Sweden.

GE Additive announced this week the opening of its new Arcam EBM Center of Excellence (CoE). Such centers are popping up increasingly around the world, and for good reason — they offer a sort of ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to a focused manufacturing process.

The new Arcam site is set to house up to 500 employees within its 15,000 square meters. Located in a business park in Härryda municipality, near Gothenburg, the center is said to triple the size of the Mölndal facility, Arcam’s previous site. Significantly larger and set up for a significant workforce, the new CoE is well placed to do some significant business.

Additive Manufacturing Centers of Excellence

The CoE will house facilities for production as well as R&D and training activities and support functions. This is the one-stop-shop benefit: it’s all under the same roof.

As we saw recently in Barcelona with HP’s newest CoE, and in Israel with XJet’s new facility, having access to multiple layers of activity within a single site is a great benefit to a company — and to its customers. 

Each of these companies, including Arcam EBM, is housing new operations in the country where they began their 3D printing activity in the first place. This enhances access to all levels of in-house expertise, though all are very active globally. And, in Arcam’s case, now officially with a US headquarters since its acquisition some years ago by GE Additive.

Lean Manufacturing

The focus for the new Arcam EBM CoE is on lean manufacturing.

Parent GE Additive is keen to emphasize lean manufacturing practices. Wikipedia provides a quick helpful overview of just what this means:

“Lean manufacturing or lean production is a systematic method originating in the Japanese manufacturing industry for the minimization of waste (無駄 muda) within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity, which can cause problems. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden (無理 muri) and unevenness in work loads (斑 mura). Working from the perspective of the client who consumes a product or service, ‘value’ is any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.

Lean manufacturing attempts to make obvious what adds value, through reducing everything else (because it is not adding value).”

The company also notes that the CoE is “a dynamic, sustainable workplace,” though no details yet on what that ‘sustainability’ means have yet surfaced.

This often means — as we saw in Barcelona — attention paid in the building of the site to environmentally friendly practices (for example, a photovoltaic roof and recycled water systems). Coinciding with lean manufacturing as outlined above, this also encompasses practices to reduce waste which, helpfully, is also in focus anyway due to the nature of additive manufacturing (as compared with subtractive techniques that inherently produce more waste material during production).

“The Arcam EBM team in Gothenburg is energized to be in its new home — a dynamic, sustainable workplace — in a great location. We will harness that energy and continue to research, innovate and drive EBM technology further,” said Karl Lindblom, General Manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM.

“Throughout, we have benefitted immensely from GE’s experience and know-how in applying Lean manufacturing. Customers joining our annual user group meeting next month will be the first to see our Center of Excellence — which we hope will become a focal point for the entire additive industry.”

Finally, the announcement of the new CoE indicates that it “with an increased manufacturing footprint and focus on R&D will meet that demand and maps to GE Additive’s continued investment in its facilities in the United States and Europe.”

It sounds rather like this next step from GE Additive is by no means the last we’ll be hearing of expansion of their R&D and production efforts.

Via GE Additive

By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.