Less than three months after acquiring controlling ownership of Concept Laser GmbH of Germany, GE (NYSE: GE) is moving quickly to transform the Additive Manufacturing firm by expanding its headquarters, growing its employee base and support teams, and investing in next-generation additive equipment and materials.
When GE acquired a 75% stake of Concept Laser in 2016 the company had around 200 employees. Today, employment has grown to 244 and is expected to reach between 350 to 400 people (mostly engineers and technicians) by early 2018. Concept Laser is further bolstering its field service operations in the United States and Germany, as well as adding engineers in such areas as production, quality control, development and testing.
Plans are being finalised for a significant expansion of Concept Laser’s headquarters in Lichtenfels, Germany, with new floor space for manufacturing, product development, testing and administration. In addition to the Lichtenfels headquarters, the company has significant operations in the United States (Grapevine, Texas), China, and a global network of distributors and agents.
“Over several years, Concept Laser grew quickly and established a strong reputation with our innovations,” stated Frank Herzog, Concept Laser’s President. “GE is enabling us to grow our infrastructure and bring more robust processes and greater resources to our operations. Our immediate focus is to mature our machines and apply the additional resources to improve customer responsiveness and mature, grow, and improve our product offerings.”
Concept Laser is collaborating with the GE Additive Technology Center (ATC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Here, GE engineers are identifying where Additive Manufacturing can be used to mass-produce sophisticated components for industrial products, including components for jet engines produced by GE Aviation, a world-leading end user of Additive Manufacturing technology.
“ATC is a critical piece of the puzzle for Concept Laser,” added Herzog. “We’ve been a manufacturer of the machines and materials for years, but ATC is giving us new insights into the process of product and materials qualification because GE is such an important end user of the technology. The learning is tremendous and will accelerate the development process.”
Concept Laser has also teamed with GE to focus on future technologies including next-generation additive machines. “We are moving closer to a day where we can fully serve industries, such as automotive, where the mass production of several parts using Additive Manufacturing becomes a reality,” stated Herzog.