Executive: The Leap Engine Will Be One of General Electric Company's Most Important Products

Get an inside perspective.

Jul 14, 2014 at 12:38PM

In the coming years, through its 50-50 joint venture with Snecma, a subsidiary of France-based Safran, General Electric (NYSE:GE) will make aviation history with the introduction of the Leap jet engine. Not only will the Leap engine make many breakthroughs on the fuel-efficiency front, but it will also feature 3-D metal-printed fuel nozzles. As a result, General Electric is effectively pioneering the use of 3-D printing in larger-scale manufacturing applications.

Leap X Kgg

A full-size mockup of CFM LEAP-X engine. Source: Wikipedia user KGG1951, under CC license 3.0, no changes made.

In the following video, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller asks General Electric's chief manufacturing scientist Stephan Biller to provide an update on the Leap engine, as well as its 3-D printed fuel nozzles. Going forward, General Electric investors should continue to monitor new developments about the progress of the Leap engine, and how its 3-D printing manufacturing expertise is translating into other areas of its business.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Steve Heller: I wanted to talk about the LEAP jet engine, particularly -- we're at a 3-D printing conference -- the fuel nozzle. I wanted to know if you could update us at all, how the progress is going with that?

Stephan Biller: Progress is going great. We're making great progress. The LEAP is obviously going to be one of our [General Electric's] most important products we're going to introduce. By 2020, we believe that we're going to have printed about 100,000 additive [3-D printed] parts going into the LEAP.

We're [General Electric is] really taking advantage of that new technology, and it's a very, very exciting time. We're working very hard on it together with our business partners in aviation, and there's lots and lots of excitement around that.

I think we're going to introduce that engine faster; usually in aviation you think about, "How long is it going to take you to make the 250th engine?" That will be faster than it has been ever before.

Heller: Interesting. GE, in particular, is pioneering larger-scale 3-D printing manufacturing, with real metal in jet engines, in harsh environments. Is that correct?

Biller: Yes, that is exactly right. That was the idea of our acquisition of Morris, of course, was the basis for us being able to do that.

Heller: Right, to give you the expertise and understanding, and be able to push the boundaries of 3-D printing technology to fit your own [General Electric's] operations.

Biller: Yes.

Steve Heller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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