GE Unveils Advanced-Manufacturing 'Fab Lab' in Chicago
Issue: August 2013, Posted Date: 9/17/2013
Nowadays, you don't need to work in a manufacturing facility to manufacture things.
You can just hop on over to one of a growing number of manufacturing and prototyping shops that are popping up throughout the country – the latest of which is General Electric Co.'s "GE Garages" in Chicago.
GE describes the facility as "an advanced-manufacturing fab lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and makers."
The facility is equipped with 3-D printers, CNC mills, a laser cutter and an injection molder, among other equipment that will "give visitors the ability to realize their ideas in wood, plastic, textiles, sheet metal and various other materials," according to GE.
"GE Garages are skill-building innovation and manufacturing centers,
developed to spark interest and engagement in jobs that have led America
through a variety of innovative high-points," GE explains on its website
. "From prototyping inventions and new products to creating
manufacturing-based solutions to solve tough problems, the new centers
will invest in the education of our employees and communities."
The company first unveiled the concept in Austin, Texas, last year, and has brought a mobile version of GE Garages to Houston, San Francisco, Virginia Tech, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland.
The GE Garages space in Chicago will serve as the headquarters for Chicago Ideas Week, an innovation-focused event that takes place Oct. 14-20.
Open through Oct. 20, the GE Garages Space will feature guest speakers such as Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project and an open-source-hardware advocate who works with clients such as Prada, Whirlpool and Adidas. Workshops will show attendees how to make "digitally manufactured lamps, brilliant homes, weather clocks and other brilliant technologies," GE said.
"With free access to some of the most insightful entrepreneurs,
data scientists and software and industrial engineers at GE Garages,
Chicagoland locals and CIW attendees alike have a unique chance to
experience the advanced-manufacturing revolution first-hand," said Jessica Malkin, executive director of Chicago Ideas Week.