GE Healthcare's latest tech bet includes a 'cobot' run 3-D printing lab
- GE Healthcare's new 3-D printing lab combines advanced manufacturing technology such as metal and polymer printers with collaborative robots called “cobots,” according to a company press release.
- The company's research & development teams will work with manufacturing engineers to design, test and produce 3-D-printed parts for GE Healthcare products before reaching the manufacturing stage.
- A current project involves a partnership between GE and the biotechnology company Amgen to test a new chromatography column for use in developing biopharmaceuticals, a type of drug meant to treat cancer and immune diseases.
GE is establishing itself as a market leader in technological innovation, and the company is not limiting itself to one aspect of the supply chain.
The Port of L.A. has benefited from GE's growing interest in data and technology, with its pilot program to digitize shipping data expanded to five years shortly after implementation. The goal of enhancing visibility into cargo flow and sharing data with stakeholders isn't new, but GE's support of technology made it possible. Internally, GE has shifted away from classic subtractive manufacturing methods and closer to additive processes, in part to reduce procurement costs by modifying the type and volume of supply required.
In fact, technology within the medical field is dominating new initiatives at GE. For the past two years, GE has focused on expanding its medical technology arm, GE Healthcare, which sells hospital equipment. The newest project expands the initiative into drug production as well — due to its partnership with Amgen — as the company edges into "precision medicine," or the small-scale production of personalized treatments for genetic diseases, for which large-scale manufacturing practices are inefficient.
If successful, the 3-D printing lab could prove a model for other healthcare manufacturers in the age of personalized treatment.
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