Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On September 16th 2021, multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) of Boston, Massachusetts announced that it would be collaborating with Fraunhofer IGCV of Augsburg and Voxeljet AG of Friedberg to develop what GE described as “the world’s largest 3D printer for offshore wind applications.” (Fraunhofer IGCV is short for Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology, which is part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft research organisation. Augsburg and Friedberg are both in Bavaria, Germany.) The project will entail developing a new 3D printer capable of making moulds for casting metal parts for the nacelle of GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbine. (Here, the term nacelle refers to an enclosure on a wind turbine that houses its energy-generating components.)

GE boasted that the would-be printer would be able to produce moulds to cast parts for the turbine that can each weigh more than 60 metric tonnes, as well as reducing the time that it would take to make the relevant moulds and patterns from at least 10 weeks to just 2 weeks. In addition, GE argued that using the printer would reduce the turbine’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need to transport its larger parts from where they were manufactured. The trio expect to start trialling the printer during the first quarter of 2022.

Another example of GE experimenting with 3D printing’s use in wind turbine manufacturing involves division GE Renewable Energy of Paris, France; 3D printing construction company COBOD of Copenhagen, Denmark, and multinational building materials manufacturer Holcim Group of Zug, Switzerland. (COBOD is short for construction of buildings on demand. Holcim Group were then known as LafargeHolcim.) In June 2020, GE announced that the 3 companies would be engaging in a multi-year long collaboration to develop wind turbines that would measure up to a record-breaking 200m tall, made possible via concrete bases that could be 3D printed on site. At the time, GE proclaimed that its first prototype wind turbine base had been successfully 3D printed back in October 2019 and measured 10m tall.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “HD.11C.069 (12460085713)” is a work of a United States Department of Energy (or predecessor organization) employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.