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General Electric

Automotive Feature

Behind the scenes at GE's future-forward factory

It feels like a scene from a movie. I'm standing in the lobby of a brand-new research facility where video screens set in large circular stands beam the company's achievements from their high-res flat screens. Behind glass panels, engineers in slacks and button-down shirts are busy working lasers, monitoring a robot and generally doing engineer-like things. This is GE's brand-new Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) in Greenville, South Carolina. It's the company's first in the world and Gizmag got inside to take a sneak peek.Read More

Aircraft

World's largest commercial aircraft engine fired up for the first time

The world's largest commercial aircraft engine has been started up for the first time at GE Aviation's Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. According to GE, ground testing of the GE9X development engine will enable data to be gathered on the engine's overall and aerodynamic performance, mechanical verification, and aero-thermal system validation leading up to flight testing and certification before entering service at the end the decade.Read More

GE turns out the lights on CFLs

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that could fit into standard light sockets only hit the market in the 1980s, but the signs are their days may be numbered. GE has announced it will cease production of CFLs this year and instead switch its focus to producing LEDs.Read More

Materials

New fluorescent lighting phosphors slash use of rare-earth elements

Phosphors are essential to fluorescent lighting, and thus office parks the world over, but their use of rare-earth elements makes them less than ideal. To address that issue, new types of phosphors have been developed that use substantially less rare-earth elements than current phosphors found in fluorescent bulbs. This could reduce the reliance on the limited supplies of rare-earth elements until fluorescent lighting can be completely replaced by LED lighting, which isn't expected to occur for over a decade.Read More

Robotics

GE atomic swimmer robot keeps tabs on nuclear reactors

One truism of nuclear reactors is that you really don't want to be next to one. Unfortunately, reactor cores need to be inspected and maintained, which means teams of workers going inside the containment vessel. It's an operation that's not only hazardous, but expensive and time consuming. In an effort to make such inspections safer, cheaper, and faster, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has developed the Stinger; a free-swimming, remote-controlled robot that replaces humans for cleaning and inspecting reactor vessels.Read More

Robotics

GE sees robots as the apprentices of the future

It's widely believed that we're in the middle of a robotics revolution, but at this stage robots are still largely confined to cages doing tasks that don't require a lot of intelligence or interaction with us humans. We spoke with John Lizzi, Manager of the Distributed Intelligent Systems Laboratory at GE Global Research, about General Electric's approach to the future of robotics – specifically the future of what the company calls "service robotics," where robot apprentices will work closely with humans and take over many of the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs of today.Read More

3D Printing

GE fires up fully 3D-printed jet engine

It's one thing to 3D-print something as advanced as a jet engine, but it's another to fuel it up and push the start button. That's the step that GE Aviation took when it recently fired up a simple jet engine made entirely of 3D-printed parts in a test stand normally reserved for commercial jet power plants.Read More

Good Thinking

Advanced Rail Cleaner blasts snow and ice off railway tracks

Imagine if you were trying to pull a heavy sled up an icy hill, while wearing slick-soled boots. Well, that's kind of what it's like for locomotives working on snowy mountain railways. If there's too much ice or snow on the rails, their steel wheels will just spin out when traveling up inclines. Because of this problem, trains going along such routes are generally kept short and light – which isn't cost-effective. Now, however, GE Transportation has developed a supersonic air blower to keep those tracks dry. Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People

Engineer designs DIY bionic hand for boy he met in an elevator

It seems like hardly a month goes by without news reaching us of advances in the field of bionic hands. Unfortunately, however, these high-tech prostheses can be very costly to purchase, with prices ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. This puts them out of reach of a large number of people, such as a boy that General Electric engineer Lyman Connor met last year. Connor proceeded to design and build a low-cost bionic hand in his home workshop, which he now hopes to make available to amputees-on-a-budget .... plus he hopes to get one to the boy, if only he can locate him. Read More

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