Behind the scenes, General Electric (NYSE:GE) is arguably one of the most influential and important companies involved with 3-D printing. It currently has plans to 3-D print 45,000 fuel nozzles a year that will take to the skies in its upcoming Leap jet engine, which is significant because this project will take General Electric and 3-D printing where no advanced manufacturer has gone before -- to the realm of direct manufacturing on a larger scale. As you can imagine, this is quite an exciting time for Christine Furstoss, who heads ups General Electric's additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, research division.

According to Furstoss, when you boil it down, there are two aspects of 3-D printing she feels are the most powerful to General Electric. First is that with 3-D printing comes the ability to produce products that would be otherwise impossible or extremely cost prohibitive with conventional manufacturing methods. On a high level, 3-D printing is an additive layer-by-layer manufacturing process that excels at creating complicated designs at little to no added cost. For a company with the size and scale of General Electric, being able to use 3-D printing in a manufacturing setting could prove to be a huge cost-saver over the long term.

Secondly, 3-D printing is acting as the catalyst that's sparking a revitalization movement in the manufacturing industry that could ultimately lead to an innovation boom in terms of design and production. But what's most exciting to Furstoss about the rise of 3-D printing is how early on in the cycle we are today. In the video below, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller asks Christine Furstoss what she thinks is the most powerful of aspect of 3-D printing for General Electric.

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.