GE R&D center in Michigan will focus on composites

The facility near Detroit will develop composites, machining, inspection, casting and coating technologies for GE’s Aviation and Energy businesses.

The General Electric Co. (GE, Fairfield, Conn., USA) announced on June 26 that it will open an advanced manufacturing technology and software center in Michigan. The center is expected to grow to more than 1,100 GE employees over the next few years.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center will include a GE research and development facility that will be part of GE’s Global Research network. It will house scientists and engineers who will develop next-generation manufacturing technologies for GE’s leading renewable energy, aircraft engine, gas turbine and other high-technology products. Such work will include development of composites, machining, inspection, casting and coating technologies for GE’s Aviation and Energy businesses.

The site will also house GE experts in software development, data architecture, networking, business intelligence and program management. They will develop software to support GE’s business operations for several advanced technologies, like the smart grid. The site also will serve as a training hub for GE information technology professionals.

The center, which is expected to open later this year, will be located at the Visteon Village site in Van Buren Township, Wayne County, about 25 miles from Detroit. The research and development facility will be housed in a new $100 million, 100,000-sq-ft/9,290-sq-m building that GE will construct on the site. The software and IT employees will be located in existing office space.

“To lead in manufacturing and create high-value jobs in the U.S., we must invest in technology and in people,” GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in Michigan at an event with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “The scientists, engineers and technologists that will work and learn at this center will help GE develop innovative new software, processes and technologies to make our manufacturing businesses even more productive and competitive.

“Michigan is a great location for a technology center because of its world-class engineering, technical talent and public officials who understand that investing now will create tomorrow’s leading positions in information technology, clean energy and transportation.”

The state of Michigan is providing more than $60 million in incentives over the next 12 years to support the center. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said, “No state is working harder than Michigan to diversify its economy and create new jobs. GE’s decision to invest and grow in Michigan demonstrates we have the high-tech workforce and competitive business climate necessary for global giants like GE to thrive in the 21st century.”

Sen. Levin said, “Michigan is well positioned to be a leader in advanced manufacturing and development of green technologies. This facility will take advantage of our state’s strengths and keep us on the forefront of these critical emerging industries.”

Sen. Stabenow said, “Michigan has always been about imagination, innovation, and invention – the same qualities that GE is known for today. That’s why GE has chosen to locate this new advanced technology and training center here in Wayne County. This center is a reflection of Michigan’s leadership in the clean energy economy, that will not only create good-paying jobs, but will lay the foundation for innovation and economic success for years to come.