Stratasys Ltd, a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, has partnered with FirstBuild – a General Electric (GE) affiliate – to build and commercialise 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.
According to the news release by Stratasys, FirstBuild was established by GE Appliances – a subsidiary of GE – in collaboration with Local Motors as 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. 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,” said Gilad Gans, President of Stratasys North America.
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. 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,” said Natarajan “Venkat” Venkatakrishnan, Director of FirstBuild and Director of Advanced Technologies for GE Appliances.