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January 22, 2020

GE Healthcare Life Sciences opens 3D printing center in Umeå to speed hardware manufacture

By GE Healthcare Life Sciences

  • The new facility uses additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, to create components for proprietary biomanufacturing hardware.
  • Umeå is chosen for proximity to hardware manufacturing, bringing efficiencies in the supply chain.
  • The facility complements GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ first 3D printing capability, located in Uppsala.

January 22, 2020 – Umeå, Sweden – GE Healthcare Life Sciences has inaugurated a new additive manufacturing center in Umeå, Sweden. This will integrate 3D printed parts into the production of biomanufacturing equipment. A two-million USD investment, the center is expected to accelerate biopharma manufacturers’ access to the latest available technology.

The facility joins the company’s first 3D printing center, opened in 2018 in Uppsala, Sweden. The two units support the entire additive journey from design and 3D prototyping to serial production, allowing engineers to design increasingly complex parts and manufacture them with sub-millimetric precision at significantly reduced lead times. Once product design and validation are completed in Uppsala, the serial production of components begins in Umeå.

Photo: GE Healthcare Life Sciences engineers next to the 3D printer in Umeå

Olivier Loeillot, General Manager BioProcess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, says: “Our latest 3D printing center offers substantial productivity gains and adds more strength to our supply chain. The components manufactured with additive technology are smaller and more durable. For our customers, this means better quality, less waste, and simplified designs. Our two additive manufacturing capabilities are strategically located in Sweden, where we produce chromatography resins and bioprocess equipment, to speed the supply of bioprocess technologies to market.”

The incorporation of additive manufacturing in R&D and production at GE Healthcare Life Sciences increases the agility of the supply chain, streamlining development and manufacturing processes, as well as simplifying logistics and sourcing.

The 3D printing facility is initially equipped with a 3D printer for serial production of polyamide parts, a powder mixing station, and advanced post-processing equipment. The center supports the manufacture of components used in bioprocess equipment including HiScale columns, Biacore SPR systems, and the recently launched ÄKTA go chromatography system.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, creates three dimensional objects by adding layers of material on top of each other based on a digital model, without the need for a mold or cutting tool. The technology is expected to have a significant impact on the life sciences industry in the coming years, accelerating innovation in bioprocessing and drug discovery.

About GE Healthcare Life Sciences

GE Healthcare Life Sciences helps therapy innovators, researchers and healthcare providers accelerate how precision diagnostics and therapies are invented, made and used. Our products enable biological analysis, research, development and the manufacture of advanced therapies and vaccines. Life Sciences is part of the $19.8 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, GE Healthcare helps efficiently improve outcomes for patients, healthcare providers, researchers, and life sciences companies around the world. Visit our website https://www.gelifesciences.com/about-us for more information.