GE Healthcare has chosen Sweden as the first location in Europe for an advanced manufacturing lab that brings together 3D printing technologies and collaborative robots, or “cobots”, with traditional machining Equipment.
The new center, called the Innovative Design and Advanced Manufacturing Center for Europe, the lab opens in Uppsala. The aim of the lab for 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is to speed up the launch of new products for the healthcare industry using metal and polymer printers and robots. In addition, the lab is expected to simplify processes and save costs in biomanufacturing by reducing the need for hundreds of conventional and complex machine parts.
“We are exploring opportunities where additive can bring cost savings and technical improvements to our supply chain and products”, explains Andreas Marcstrom, Manager of Additive Engineering at GE Healthcare’s Uppsala site.
“Simply printing a part doesn’t really deliver that much improvement to a product or process. You have to rethink the entire design and to do this, you need your R&D teams and your additive manufacturing engineers working from the start of the development process. Our center in Uppsala ensures that critical step”, he says.
The GE Healthcare Advanced Manufacturing Engineering team will be working in close collaboration with both R&D teams and customers, sharing knowledge to further improve the efficiency of production lines.
GE Healthcare employs 1 600 people in Sweden within manufacturing and research and development. Of these, 1 200 people work at the Uppsala site. In 2015, the company announced a $100 million investment in its bioprocessing manufacturing facility in Uppsala, adjoining the 3D printing lab. This investment will double the plant’s production capacity for chromatography resins.