GE opens T&D manufacturing lab in Connecticut

GE’s Industrial Solutions business celebrated the opening of its new advanced manufacturing lab in Plainville, Connecticut. The lab is using robotics and automated manufacturing systems to design and build production lines for the new GuardEon molded case circuit breaker platform to be launched in 2015.

For customers, advanced manufacturing methods ensure the consistent high-quality outputs and flexible production to meet the safety and uptime challenges they face every day in keeping their operations running.

Locating this lab in Plainville facilitates critical collaboration between the advanced manufacturing engineers and the co-located engineering design team to enhance design-for-manufacturability at the earliest stages of product development.

GE’s design, build, test, learn, modify and repeat rhythm with in-house human and capital resources dramatically increases options for timely proof-of-concept testing and ultimately, empowers delivery of better products for its customers much faster.

GE’s new lab models future production lines for the GuardEon circuit breaker that incorporate advanced technologies including some of the first Occupational Health and Safety Administration-approved advanced manufacturing robots, using smart-response movements to help safely and intelligently work directly alongside operators in a manufacturing environment.

The lab also features 4-by-6-foot “moonshine” tables outfitted with programmable logic controllers and pneumatics. The tables serve as experimental design pods for inventing enhanced manufacturing operations to meet strict TAKT times, a critical measurement linking production-cycle times to customer-demand rates.

FastWorks is a fundamentally different and innovative concept created by GE. Inspired by the best-selling business book, The Lean Start Up, by Eric Ries, it’s built on the premise of bringing the agility, nimbleness and passion of a start up to more mature companies like GE to deliver better products to market faster.

Beginning with a team of just seven engineers in 2013, GE now has more than 50 full-time, cross-functional, co-located employees in Plainville working with a singular goal — to build the best MCCB with the most advanced technologies that ensure safe and reliable power distribution for industrial, OEM and commercial customers.

The team includes a combination of GE veterans from around the globe, new technical hires with deep industry domain and external industrial design experts to bring this customer-centric product to market through simpler, smarter and faster approaches.

The lab is GE’s second lab opening in Plainville in just over a year. In May 2013, the company launched the NPI Accelerator Lab, featuring a collaborative workspace with a machine shop, product teardown area and 3D printing prototype production and assembly capabilities, which enables GE engineers to design, develop and deliver new products faster than ever before. In addition, GE’s High Current Test Lab offers high-voltage capabilities for on-site, quick-cycle prototype testing, ensuring products’ robust design, superior performance and standards compliance from launch date.

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