Great Potential of 3D Printing in Renewable Energy

GE: Making A Difference in The Wind

To combat the ever increasing threat of the global climate crisis, reducing greenhouse emissions is one of the means that has long been considered. The wind energy sector plays a significant role towards this end. However, knowing how time-consuming in manufacturing and fund-heavy wind turbines can be, much research is being poured into making them more affordable and eco-friendly. This is where additive manufacturing (AM) comes into the fore.

GE Renewable Energy is seriously considering this task with its ongoing efforts to improve wind turbine efficiency and performance with 3D printing. It is well aware of the benefits of the technology to the wind energy sector.

First of all, turbine blade tips, fabricated using 3D printing and thermoplastic composites, are lighter than conventional counterparts. This allows for larger rotors on turbines to generate more power, reduce the strain on the entire turbine, the wear and tear on its gearboxes, drivetrains, bearings, and foundation, and as well as lower lifecycle costs for turbine operators. Also, 3D printed blade tips could be melted down and recycled when they have run their course. The company aims to increase the competitiveness of their onshore and offshore wind energy sites by leveraging 3D printing to reduce manufacturing costs and improve supply chain flexibility.

Using AM will maximize the total amount of clean, renewable energy that can be generated, at the same time, lower the project’s carbon footprint by simplifying the manufacturing assembly processes and logistics, improving the durability and reliability of its products, and reducing the number of parts needing to be manufactured and transported from long distances.

Other benefits include time-to-market, 3D printing of molds for castings, more resilient, local, and robust supply chains, and high-quality consistency due to the technology’s automated and digitized nature. 3D printing paves the way for more efficient designs that can be customized to specific locations and applications.

GE aims to step up the energy transition by using sustainable design to maximize the environmental benefits for all stakeholders.


Eco-Friendly 3d Printing Ideas

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2D Printing Giants to Get Into 3D Printing

The world of 3D printing has seen some phenomenal growth since its inception. However, a lot of the big printing companies have yet to introduce their own 3D printers. Giants like Hewlett-Packard and Seiko Epson are looking to correct that.

The question on the table is whether these companies will work on building their own 3D printing technology from scratch, or whether they will be buying an existing 3D printer company like Stratasys. Though the record high stock prices on Stratasys would make for a hefty purchase, it may prove to be a better move than having to go through the work of re-inventing the wheel. After all, the plethora of patents and years of history that have brought us the modern 3D printer represents a lot of distance to catch up on. Also, the brands of the existing 3D printer companies have a significant presence in current markets, which would make for an easier transition.

On the other hand, Stratasys may prefer to remain independent and build upon its own success. Representatives of the company have declined to comment on the possibility of selling out. A take-over therefore remains possible, though not entirely probable.