GE Aviation opens new factory in Michigan

GE Aviation has opened a $14.5 million Brilliant Factory in Muskegon, MI.

GE Aviation (Evendale, OH) has opened a $14.5 million Brilliant Factory in Muskegon, MI—an investment that will stimulate economic growth in the region and where the company is using data and analytics to run its plants more efficiently. This the first of several GE Brilliant Factories being built throughout the world, where machine downtime has been reduced to less than 1%.

The new 35,000-sq-ft. facility will manufacture parts for the GE90 engine, and will perform development work for new programs as needed. The GE90 on the Boeing 777 is the world's most powerful jet engine, with about 2500 engines in service and more than 67 million flight hours. GE is working aggressively to use laser additive manufacturing to produce jet engine components.

"GE's Brilliant Factories combine the newest technologies, from advanced analytics to 3D printing to collaborative robots that work side by side with people," says John Bowman, general manager, supply chain for GE Aviation. "The facility represents an investment in advanced manufacturing—our workforce is constantly adapting and updating their skills for the jobs of tomorrow. By equipping machines with sensors and analyzing the data in real time, GE can determine when a machine might break well before it fails."

Sensor-enabled manufacturing lines feed data to the company's cloud-based Predix platform. This has helped reduce unplanned downtime on the shop floor by up to 20%, and has improved overall product reliability and cost.

In addition to advanced processes and tools, there is also a digital thread running through the factory, both horizontally across the company and vertically throughout the value chain, that provides an integrated view of a product throughout the manufacturing lifecycle.

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