GE opening microfactory in Chicago to build industrial prototypes

Robert Channick for the Chicago Tribune:  GE is opening a microfactory in Chicago to turn big industrial ideas into small-batch prototypes.  The Chicago manufacturing facility, set to open in December, will be the first for Fuse, a new GE crowdsourcing initiative to create and build innovative industrial products. One of the first challenges on the Fuse drawing board, for example, is finding a new way to quickly inspect a hot jet engine between flights.

"The idea of reaching out to the online community really accelerates how we introduce new products," said Axel Grippo, Fuse's inaugural general manager.  The microfactory will be housed inside the mHub technology incubator, and will employ a staff of about 15 to 20 once manufacturing gets up to speed, Grippo said. The first prototype is expected to roll out early next year.  Cont'd...

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