GE Healthcare Life Sciences is expanding its additive manufacturing footprint in Sweden with a new facility in the city of Umeå, the company announced this week. The $2-million plant will be dedicated to the serial production of 3D-printed parts for biomanufacturing equipment, completing a journey the parts began in the Uppsala facility established in 2018, where product design and validation is conducted. “The two units support the entire additive journey from design and 3D prototyping to serial production, allowing engineers to design increasingly complex parts and manufacture them with sub-millimetric precision at significantly reduced lead times,” said GE Healthcare Life Sciences. Once product design and validation are completed in Uppsala, the serial production of components begins in Umeå.
|GE Healthcare engineers consult in front of the new 3D printer for serial production of polyamide parts at the Umeå, Sweden, facility.|
“Our latest 3D printing center offers substantial productivity gains and adds more strength to our supply chain,” said Olivier Loeillot, General Manager BioProcess. “The components manufactured with additive technology are smaller and more durable. For our customers, this means better quality, less waste and simplified designs. Our two additive manufacturing capabilities are strategically located in Sweden, where we produce chromatography resins and bioprocess equipment, to speed the supply of bioprocess technologies to market,” explained Loeillot.
The incorporation of additive manufacturing in R&D and production increases the agility of the supply chain, streamlines development and manufacturing processes, and simplifies logistics and sourcing, said GE Healthcare Life Sciences in a press release. Improved efficiencies run the gamut from reducing the cost of distribution and assembly to minimizing scrap and accelerating cycle times, according to the company.
The facility is initially equipped with a 3D printer for serial production of polyamide parts, a powder mixing station and advanced post-processing equipment. It supports the manufacture of components used in bioprocess equipment including HiScale columns, Biacore SPR systems and the recently launched ÄKTA go chromatography system.