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General Electric to build advanced manufacturing plant in Findlay |
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General Electric to build advanced manufacturing plant in Findlay

General Electric is building a plant in Findlay that will become a hub for developing 3-D manufacturing technologies as the company looks to make its industrial businesses more efficient.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE will invest $32 million over three years in the facility, which will employ 50 workers when completed in September, the company said Wednesday.

GE’s investment in the plant underscores the importance the company places on “additive manufacturing,” the industrial equivalent of 3-D printing, to make its businesses more efficient, said Barbara Noverini, an analyst at Morningstar.

Additive manufacturing — so named because it constructs products by adding material rather than cutting it away — produces solid objects from a computer file by printing thin layers of plastic or metal one on top of another.

“Additive manufacturing is revolutionary because it’s fast. It’s customizable and going to allow them to get products to market faster,” Noverini said. “It’s just another way for them to keep on the cutting edge of technology, which is something they’ve focused on the last three years.”

GE has explored additive manufacturing for a while, making fuel nozzles for jet engines, for example, but the efforts mostly have been piecemeal, said Barbara Negroe, who will oversee construction and operation of the center.

Aviation researchers have explored the technology separately from those in the oil and gas business. The plant in Findlay will centralize those efforts, developing technology and training programs that will be implemented throughout GE’s industrial businesses.

“We’re very excited,” Negroe said. “This is a technology that has been around for several years, but there is a gap in getting it to the production floor. There’s a lot to discover here.”

The Pittsburgh region’s central geographic location and proximity to universities made it a good place for the center, she said.

GE employs 8,500 in Pennsylvania and has locomotive plants in Erie and Grove City.

The announcement drew praise from outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett, who said it is another sign of the “renaissance in Pennsylvania manufacturing.”

Findlay manager Gary Kingman said GE has not contacted him about its plans for the facility but he would welcome the company’s arrival.

Construction is expected to begin in March.

Chris Fleisher is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7854 or [email protected].

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