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GE launches crowdsourcing design challenges with $130,000 jackpot

Along with engineering community GrabCAD and social innovation platform Nine Sigma, GE intends to push the boundaries of advanced manufacturing by tapping the wisdom of crowds.

General Electric is teaming up with engineering community website GrabCAD and social innovation site Nine Sigma to use crowdsourcing as a design strategy. Two design challenges—one for a jet engine bracket and a second for new design ideas for health care manufacturing—will offer up to $130,000  to engineers who submit the best plans for using additive fabrication (3D printing) as the basis of their designs.

Designing a new jet engine bracket that can be manufactured using 3D printing is one of two new contests launched today by GE and partners GrabCAD and Nine Sigma. (Source: General Electric)
Designing a new jet engine bracket that can be manufactured using 3D printing is one of two new contests launched today by GE and partners GrabCAD and Nine Sigma. (Source: General Electric)

GE announced the two challenges today at RAPID 2013, the manufacturing industry’s largest trade show devoted to additive fabrication and related 3D printing technologies. GE says it is committed to additive manufacturing as a key part of the advanced manufacturing revolution. GE has already reduced production times by up to 25% and achieved cost savings without sacrificing performance by putting additive technologies to work on an industrial scale. The company believes continued external collaboration will accelerate the application of these technologies to further increase the speed and quality of innovation.

For the jet engine challenge, participants much create the best 3D-printable design from provided requirements. The top 10 designs from the first phase of the competition will win $1,000 each and each design will be additively manufactured and tested by GE. A second phase will see $20,000 divided up among the eight top designs.

For the health care challenge, participants much use 3D printing technology to produce highly precise and complex parts with high precision. Such parts will have potential application in medical imaging and a broad spectrum of other GE businesses. An objective of this quest is to broaden GE’s supplier network of high-end 3D fabricators with sophisticated production capabilities. Up to ten winners from the first phase will be awarded $5,000 and invited to participate in the second phase, which includes prototype fabrication with specified materials. Up to three winning prototypes will be awarded $50,000 each.

Both design challenge contests start today; participants must submit at least one entry by July 26, 2013 to be eligible for phase two. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. Full details are available at the GrabCAD and Nine Sigma websites.

Our take

We wrote recently about the rise of Open Engineering as a new design paradigm, but wondered how fast it could take off. (See, “GrabCAD Workbench cracks the door on open engineering.”)  It seems GE has decided to be a leader, not a follower, in exploring the new opportunities. They won’t be alone for long.

 

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Posted in: BIZ, Featured, MFG & PLM

About the Author:

Randall S. Newton is the former Managing Editor of GraphicSpeak. He has been writing about engineering and design technologies for more than 25 years.

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