Arik Hesseldahl

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GE’s Jeffrey Immelt Would Love to 3-D Print Jet Engine Parts Someday

immelt-pullIf you’re into the 3-D printing craze consider this: Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of the industrial giant General Electric, is one of you.

The practice of 3-D printing has some practical applications in the big industrial world of building jet engines, Immelt said in an interview with Kara Swisher at D: All Things Digital. Not so much in printing jet engines themselves, but in printing their biggest parts.

“We make a turbine blade that is made of some of the most expensive high-heat material in the world,” Immelt said. “We put that blade through the fabrication process and the excess material is essentially waste.”

Since 3-D printing essentially eliminates the waste of excess material, Immelt hopes to one day use the technology to create engine parts in a more efficient and less costly way. It would also cut down the time to design and develop an engine by half. “We’re a company that wants to own our supply chain,” he said. “This is going to be a great place to put capital.”

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