Monday 17 June 2013

GE Launch 3D Printing Open Innovation Challenges

The rise of Additive Manufacturing, or 3D Printing as it is more commonly known, has become a subject of great interest for innovation, fun, and even controversy. Corporate innovation leaders GE have launched two open innovation challenges, in partnership with leading platforms GrabCAD and NineSigma. The challenges call on engineers to design components that are lighter and more flexible but are still able to meet maximum performance goals. Both challenges consist of two phases, design and prototype manufacture, with the winning entrants being awarded significant cash prizes.

3D Printing Design Quest

The first of GE's partnership challenges features GrabCAD, a platform founded in 2010 to enable engineers to collaborate with each other on innovative designs and breakthroughs. This partnership and the challenge is looking for innovative designs for lighter yet durable components for the development of air engine brackets. These brackets have posed a challenge for engineers in the trade off between strength & stiffness and size and weight, making current methods of production to be constrictive. The first phase of this challenge which started from 12th June and due to end on 26th July 2013, calls for design submissions that use additive manufacturing to produce engine brackets lighter in weight yet meet maximum performance goals.

Image Credit; Dave-F
The bracket's are integral part of the aircraft and so must provide support to the weighty engine without breaking or losing their shape, which will be assessed by simulation tests. The top ten designs will be awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and progress to the second phase, the additive manufacture of the brackets. This phase will run from 15th August to 15th November 2013 and see the prototypes rigorously tested in a variety of load designs. The top eight selected will received awards from a prize pool with a total $20,000 value. Click here for more information including how to enter and terms & conditions.

3D Printing Production Quest
High Precision and Advanced Materials

GE has invested considerably in open innovation projects particularly in the medical field in search of innovative procedures and development of equipment. In partnership with NineSights, part of the NineSigma open innovation platform,  GE have called for the design of customisable parts using additive manufacturing, parts to be used in medical imaging and equipment. These components are usually made using high density, high atomic number metals which can inflexible and difficult to shape. The challenge looks to make use of additive manufacturing in the production of components with more flexibility but the same durability and strength.

Image Credit; B L Murch
As with the previous challenge the 3D Printing Production Quest consists of two phases. The first phases, which started from 11th June till 26th July 2013, calls for capabilities submissions. The top ten winning entrants will receive $5,000 and an invitation  to progress to the next phase to commence in October. Participants will be allocated a $5,000 budget to fabricate a working prototype from materials as well as CAD specifications. The participants have until January 2014 to bring their winning designs to life which will be tested in accordance to required specs. The three winners will each receive a cash prize of $50,000 and the opportunity to collaborate further with GE in other projects. Click here for more information including how to enter and terms & conditions.

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