Mon, 14 Aug 2017

Using the power of software, machine learning, power systems, and other advanced analytics as well as next-generation design and visualization techniques, GE is leveraging its extensive knowledge of the grid to develop new solutions that will help utilities predict and prevent potential failures before they happen.

For over a century, the electrical grid has served its purpose, delivering power when and where it is needed. In recent years, several factors have converged that have heightened attention on the reliability and functionality of electric grids.

Having been magnified in recent years by volatile weather events such as crippling hurricanes and super storms, resilience and reliability have been emphasized as key components in successful grid operation. Events such as Hurricane Sandy, causing wide-spread power outages, have highlighted vulnerabilities in our grid infrastructure, impacting consumers and utilities alike.

Utilizing the power of software, power systems, machine learning, and other advanced analytics and next-generation design and visualization techniques, GE is leveraging its extensive knowledge of the grid to develop new solutions that will help utilities predict and prevent potential failures before they happen. GE’s portfolio of power-grid-based technologies enable the use of real-time information to improve the operation of the grid. As GE continues to add intelligent grid enabling technologies to its ecomagination portfolio, we also continue to work with customers around the world to deploy solutions that bring governments, utilities and consumers toward a more energy-efficient tomorrow.

In parallel, GE engineers are developing energy management technologies to meet the integration challenges of a more diversified grid and new software and analytical tools to make grid management and operations more efficient and more predictive. GE intermittency management and renewables integration technology also allow the grid to handle more renewable power without increasing wear and tear on utility equipment, while also enabling the efficient transfer of renewable power over long distances, helping to move power from sunny, windy areas to the places where people live and work.

See how a grid works in Smarter Technology for a Smart Grid.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

A cornerstone of the GE Software Center efforts to advance the Industrial Internet is Predix™, GE’s software platform for the Industrial Internet. Predix was developed over the last three years and was first announced publicly at GE’s Minds+Machines conference in Chicago, Illinois, in October 2013.

Predix enables asset and operations optimization by providing a standard way to run industrial-scale analytics and connect machines, data, and people. Deployed on machines, on premise, or in the cloud, Predix combines an industry-leading stack of technologies for distributed computing and big data analytics, asset management, machine-to-machine communication, and mobility.

Predix is optimized for machine-to-machine   communications, analytics on  large industrial data sets,  and industrial asset performance management, seamlessly scaling from the smallest device to the largest high-performance compute cloud.

GE is not currently licensing Predix directly to end customers. Rather, Predix is the enabling technology that powers GE  Predictivity™ solutions. Visit to learn more.

Related Content:

White Paper: The Case for an Industrial Big Data Platform: Laying the Groundwork for the New Industrial Age

White Paper: Modernizing Machine-To-Machine Interactions: A Platform for Igniting the Next Industrial Revolution

Video: Predix: Helping minds and machines work together

Video: Modernizing Machine-to-Machine with Predix

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

In 2016, GE Aviation will introduce the first 3D-printed parts in an aircraft engine platform. Each of the new CFM LEAP engines, produced jointly by GE and its long-time partner, Snecma (SAFRAN) of France, will have 19 3D-printed fuel nozzles in the combustion system that could not be made any other way. The benefits of printing these parts are numerous.

  • Lighter in weight – the weight of these nozzles will be 25% lighter than its predecessor part.
  • Simpler design – the number of parts used to make the nozzle will be reduced from 18 to 1.
  • New design features – more intricate cooling pathways and support ligaments will result in 5X higher durability vs. conventional manufacturing.

These benefits all will lead to higher performance from our engines. With several thousand orders for the new CFM LEAP, GE Aviation will produce more than 100,000 3D-printed parts by the close of this decade. Today, GE is the world’s largest user of additive technologies in metals.

The production of 3D-printed parts in GE aircraft engines signals a paradigm shift that is happening with the emergence of additive manufacturing. Additive not only offers the opportunity to design parts never before possible; Scientists in GE’s Additive Manufacturing Lab also see new possibilities for designing entirely new materials.

New advances in laser technology and 3D-printing machines are allowing scientists to experiment with new material configurations by mixing and combining metal powders in more innovative ways.

Aviation represents the first GE business where additive technologies are being applied. GE scientists are also developing applications for other GE businesses as well, which include:

  • Healthcare – production of a low -cost Ultrasound transducer that allows intricate patterns on the probe face to be printed all at once vs. time intensive, micromachining techniques used today.
  • Appliances – Rapid prototyping of new appliance designs at 15000 parts/year
  • Oil & Gas – Turbomachinery prototyping and development of new pump parts

Power & Water- Has a combustion component undergoing field testing and is actively exploring the use of the AM for new (high-performance) designs.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

The conventional wisdom around wind is that the technology runway for improvement is short. GE believes just the opposite. We see a long runway that will only increase wind’s presence in our present and future energy picture.

With the power of software, analytics and advanced manufacturing technologies backing them, GE engineers have created the first BrilliantTM Wind Turbine that will push the boundaries of efficiency and power output to new heights.

Along with increasing performance, we’re developing new technologies to reduce the manufacturing and operating costs of wind. The integration of GE’s advanced battery technology with wind turbines and development of an innovative low-cost manufacturing approach to reduce blade production costs will all contribute to putting wind on more economic footing with traditional fossil fuels.

GE’s Brilliant Wind Turbine integrates energy storage, advanced controls and forecasting algorithms to manage the variability of wind and position it for a subsidy-free world. It’s a dynamic platform that literally allows communication throughout the turbine’s entire ecosystem between the turbine, farm, service tech, remote operations, grid and battery. Developers and operators may select the application or combination of applications that best suit individual site needs, including the ability to capture and store “wasted” wind power to respond immediately to load changes with ultimate precision, and/or being able to provide consistent and predictable power to the grid by smoothing out short-term peaks and valleys.

How the Turbine Works

Tens of thousands of data points are analyzed every second on a farm to integrate hundreds of megawatts onto the grid. The system has six interconnections that communicate with each other: turbine to turbine, farm to farm, farm to grid, turbine to remote operations center (ROC), turbine to battery and turbine to tech. Through these communications, power output and management can be optimized for grid operators. Wind will become more flexible and fast-responding to changing conditions, which is key for an overall grid infrastructure that has to account for higher degrees of variability.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

Tumor analysis is a key part of the cancer diagnostic workflow for all patients. Once a mass is removed from a patient, microscopic analysis is used to determine if it is cancer, as well as its characteristics and grade.

Typically, protein or DNA changes in sections of the sample are measured to determine the patient’s potential drug response. Samples with insufficient information, however, can be a major problem for pathologists and oncologists who are challenged with increasing numbers of therapy and test choices and interpretation of complex results.

To meet these challenges, GE Global Research has developed a new technology platform called MultiOmyxTM that enables analysis of dozens of proteins and DNA changes in a single tissue section. The result is in an image that tells exactly where the changes are in the tissue. This platform not only circumvents the challenge of limited samples, but also provides unprecedented insights into tumor biology.

Instead of being able to study one or two disease markers at a time, GE’s tumor analysis technologyenables the study of up to 60 proteins in a single tumor slice. Also, GE’s technology allows pathologists and researchers to study the relationships between these different proteins or disease markers in ways not possible before, which could yield new insights into tumor behavior and provide a more complete picture of a patient’s cancer.

In 2010, GE acquired Clarient, one of the largest oncology diagnostic service businesses in the U.S. GE Global Research is transferring the MultiOmyx technology to Clarient Labs, where it will be provided as a research service and diagnostic platform. Clarient already has launched its first clinical test using this technology in July 2013, which will aid in the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The growth of MultiOmyxTM highlights a new set of GE provided tools that deliver unprecedented insights into the makeup of cancer cells. The hope is that through greater understanding, we can help enable better treatments and outcomes for patients.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

Over the last decade, the U.S. government has enacted a number of rules designed to reduce smog and air pollution in cities and towns. For locomotive makers, like GE, that means addressing two main culprits: nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) like tiny chemical, metal, soil and dust particles.

Tier 4 emission standards will kick in for locomotives on January 1, 2015. Every new engine produced must slash particulates by 70% and NOx by 76% from the current Tier 3 regulations, and thanks to technology developed at GE Global Research, GE has built the world’s first locomotive that tackles the problem head-on, in an ingenious way.

Since 2005, GE has invested $600 million in the development of a Tier 4 locomotive that eliminates the need for any NOx and PM exhaust “after-treatment,” the catchall industry term for filters, converters and similar technology.

One of the easiest ways to adhere to the new Tier 4 standards would have involved adding a large filter and a 4,000-pound catalytic converter, as heavy as a passenger car, on top of the engine. The converter uses many gallons of urea, a chemical compound first discovered in urine, to break up NOx in diesel exhaust into nitrogen and water.

But the solution has a big downside. The converter hampers access to the engine and adds extra maintenance. Railroads would also have to invest an estimated $1.5 billion in urea distribution infrastructure.

GE researchers came up with a better way—one that solved the problem inside the engine and cut out the need for urea, converters and PM filters altogether.

Engineers from GE Transportation and GE Global Research spent several years in the lab, building and experimenting with a new engine design. The team at GE Global Research built a single cylinder engine for testing, gathered detailed measurements of the exhaust and plugged the information into custom software models designed to simulate a full-scale engine.

Engineers found that it was crucial to keep the temperature inside the cylinder at an optimal level to reduce NOx and PM. They devised an ingenious system that pipes in some of the hot exhaust gas to keep the engine at the desired temperature.

Today, GE’s new Tier 4 Evolution Series Advance Power 4, ecomagination certified locomotive, is the only engine that meets the EPA’s Tier 4 requirements without any after-treatment technology. With no need for a filter or a converter, it’s truly a game changer in the industry.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

Over the next few years, GE Aviation will introduce more new engine platforms than it has in the past few decades. This will bring about unprecedented demands on engine production that will require higher degrees of speed and efficiency. Automation will play a key role in helping the Aviation business keep pace.

At GE’s Michigan Technology Center and at our Global Research Center in Munich, GE engineers are developing sophisticated new automated processes to rapidly produce complex, large-scale composite parts for future aircraft engine platforms. These processes involve the use of large robotic arms with more than a dozen spools spinning out fiber in precise, predetermined patterns to form a part.

Advanced composite materials, born in the labs at GE Global Research, are being used in an increasing number of GE products where their unique combination of properties such as high strength, low density and fatigue resistance help to increase performance.

GE was the first to introduce composite parts into an aircraft engine platform in 1995 with the GE90-115B fan blade. The fan blade is a work of art, with each stripe of composite material laid by hand to form its aerodynamic shape. In fact, one has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

One of the first applications for automation will be the production of containment cases for GE Aviation’s Passport 20 engine, which is being designed for large-cabin, long-range business jets. GE engineers already have produced several test fan cases using this method. Very soon, GE Aviation will bring the technology in-house, and begin producing containment cases at a plant in Batesville, Mississippi.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

GE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are exploring a possible key to energy storage for electric vehicles. 

The GE/Berkeley team is developing a water-based, flow battery capable of more than just traditional, stationary energy storage. The chemistries GE scientists are developing will enable a flow battery that derives its power from a novel electrochemical reaction that all resides safely in a bath of water.

The proposed flow battery uses water-based solutions of inorganic chemicals that are capable of transferring more than one electron, providing high-energy density. Discharge and recharge of such flow batteries occur in electrochemical cells separated from energy storing tanks, which makes them safer.

The new battery could be just one-fourth the cost of comparable car batteries on the market today and have a driving range of 240 miles. That’s three times the current range. The GE/Berkeley team is working on an ARPA-E RANGE project to develop affordable energy storage solutions.

In addition to offering significant advantages in terms of cost and range, the flow battery GE is researching would offer safety improvements over batteries used in cars today, and could be easily integrated into current car designs; both stated goals of ARPA-E’s RANGE program.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017

The next blog in the characterization miniseries was written by my colleague Anjali Singhal who started working in our organization about six weeks ago.  She will be blogging about a new technique which we implemented in order to look inside of devices without disassembling the device!

Hi everyone!

Anjali-150x150I’m Anjali Singhal. I grew up in Jamshedpur, which is in the eastern part of India. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. Thereafter I joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, to pursue my doctorate degree. My dissertation work focused on understanding the mechanical properties of bones at the nanoscale using X-ray diffraction. I joined GE about a month and a half ago in the Chemical and Structural Analysis Laboratory. Here I use X-rays to image materials using the Micro/Nano-CT.

1. What is Micro-CT ?

Micro computed tomography or “micro-CT” is X-ray imaging in 3D, by the same method used in hospital CT (or “CAT”) scans, but on a small scale with much higher resolution. It is essentially a 3D microscopy technique, where the very fine scale internal structure of objects is imaged non-destructively. No special sample preparation is required for this technique.

2. How does the technique work?

A micro-focus X-ray source illuminates the object which is placed on a rotation stage as illustrated in the schematic.

The X-rays that pass through the object are scattered and/or absorbed. As the sample rotates, absorption (or “shadow” transmission) images of the sample are collected by an X-ray detector. An X-ray shadow image is essentially a two-dimensional projection from a three-dimensional object. Each point in the shadow image contains an integration of absorption information of the part of the object in the corresponding part of the X-ray beam. These absorption images contain information about the density of the materials through which the X-ray beam traverses. Therefore, a higher density material will have greater X-ray absorption. Once the rotation is complete, specialized algorithms are used to synthesize these shadow images to create a complete 3D representation of internal microstructure of the sample imaged. The 3D images consist of voxels (3D pixels), and with a visualization software, the 3D volume can be manipulated in real time.


3. Why do we use the instrument?

The main advantage of using Micro-CT is that a complete model of the internal and external structure of the object is obtained non-destructively. The CT works with any surface, geometry, color or material, up to a certain density and/or thickness penetrable with X-rays. The start-to-finish scan can take as little as half an hour, depending on the resolution requirements, the size and density of the object. The 3D volume generated from reconstruction can be manipulated with a visualization software. Because of this, it is possible to slice through anywhere inside the object, inspect and look for defects such as delaminations, cracks and voids, take accurate measurements of structural features, reconstruct a surface model to compare with CAD drawings etc.

Examples of CT images:

1. The following is an image of a section of a circuit board which was inspected by CT to determine if there are any joins in the solder balls which could have lead to failure of the circuit board. The solder balls are highlighted in yellow and the board is highlighted green. Near the top left corner of the image, within the red circle, the joining between the solder balls can be clearly seen. The CT is thus an easy way to inspect circuit boards for such defects.


2. The next example is a CT image of a carbon-epoxy composite shown in the bottom left figure. The voids which are less dense than the material are seen in black. The right figure shows a 3D rendering of a number of slices in the volume of the sample imaged, with the pores highlighted yellow and the matrix cyan. The volume fraction of pores and their spatial distribution in the sample can be calculated using the visualization software.


3. The next example of another carbon fiber composite illustrates that, samples with complex geometries can also be imaged using CT. The figure on the left is a 2D CT slice of the 3D object shown on the right. The architecture of the composite can be viewed from the 2D image, where delaminations between two fibers are evident within the red circle.


4. The last example is that of a cell. The different components of the cell can be clearly seen in the two CT images shown below. The CT data can then be used to select and visualize individual components of the cell without taking it apart.Tools

From all the examples above, we have seen that the CT is a very useful tool to look “inside” objects of all kinds. All the images presented here are taken using our brand new V|tomex|M Nano-CT instrument.

Feel free to ask me any questions below!


Mon, 14 Aug 2017

A few months ago I posted a nano CT blog introducing this technique, how it works and why we like to use it at GE. I would like to share our recently published feature article in the Microscopy Today magazine, Micro/Nano-CT For Visualization Of Internal Structures

This article talks in detail about the various capabilities of the instrument, in the perspective of some of the amazing materials we have looked at in our lab since taking delivery of the instrument about 6 months ago. In case you are not familiar, Micro-CT is a non-destructive 3D characterization tool that uses X rays to determine the internal structure of objects through imaging of different densities within the scanned object. High-resolution laboratory-based micro-CT or nano-CT provides image resolution on the order of 300 nm. Such high resolution allows one to visualize the internal 3D structure of fine-scale features.

Micro-CT can serve as a useful tool to screen materials for defects such as cracks, delaminations, and voids from the initial phase of product development to quality control of final part fabrication. It is also widely used in metrology for inspecting components made with additive manufacturing techniques, reverse engineering, and computer-aided design (CAD) modeling. The total scan time is relatively short, depending on the shape and size of the object. Also, compared to other microscopy techniques, the sample preparation required for micro-CT imaging is minimal.

I wanted to share with you two 3D animations of two of the materials discussed in our featured article article. The first video below is a 3D rendering of pores in a carbon-epoxy composite, color coded according to their size. The material has been reduced transparent to show the pores only. The second one shows a few cracks (highlighted in red) in a fractured Ni-based superalloy sample.

Please check out the article and videos and let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Please check out the article and videos and let me know if you have any comments or questions!

– Anjali