FirstBuild is GE Appliance’s global co-creation community—a physical state-of-the-art microfactory in Louisville, Ky., and an online forum that harnesses the global brain power of the maker movement. FirstBuild engineers, working in tandem with makers, will speed the next generation of home appliance innovation and enable customization through small-batch production without the cost and risk of traditional mass manufacturing.
By facilitating co-creation, engineers, designers, cooking and home enthusiasts around the world identify market needs and participate in product development. The manufacturing model, unprecedented in the appliance industry, enables creators from anywhere to watch and participate via social media as ideas become challenges or projects, and the most viable products move to production. Prizes and sales royalties are awarded to community members who make significant contributions. Products are initially made in small batches at FirstBuild and sold onsite or online at FirstBuild.com. The most popular products have the potential of scaling up to mass production.
FirstBuild also fosters collaborative relationships to drive innovation through cutting-edge manufacturing models and partnerships that are redefining how groundbreaking products are made. GE partnered with University of Louisville and Local Motors, the open-source hardware innovator, to create a new way of innovating and manufacturing that incorporates online co-creation and micro-manufacturing to design, engineer and build new products.
FirstBuild has also partnered with MakerBot, TechShop and Stratasys Ltd., and has joined the AllSeen Alliance, a nonprofit consortium enabling the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support the Internet of Things (IoT) through open development. These alliances, and others to come, will forever change the way companies design, make and sell products.
FirstBuild’s physical microfactory is a 35,000 square-foot former warehouse on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus. Anyone can come to FirstBuild to work on projects of their own or collaborate with the FirstBuild team on current community projects. An additional benefit of FirstBuild being on UofL’s campus is that it serves as a resource for students and faculty who can work with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, some still in development. The collaboration also enables UofL students and faculty to interact with engineers and the community to innovate and accelerate the production of kitchen appliances.
FirstBuild is another example of how vital manufacturing is to Louisville’s local and regional economies. Louisville has a diversified and strong manufacturing economy, and has added 14,000 jobs in manufacturing since the height of the recession in 2009, outpacing the national recovery rate, and sees growing demand for skilled manufacturing workers.
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
About GE Appliances
GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit www.ge.com/appliances.
About Local Motors
From bytes-to-bits, the Local Motors platform empowers anyone to design, build, and sell the world’s coolest machines. The platform combines global co-creation and local micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations to market at unprecedented speed. The Company stewards a global co-creation community, comprised of enthusiasts, designers, engineers, and makers, and operates a growing global network of microfactories, where innovators create amazing products and consumers come to marvel and shop. For more information about Local Motors, visit www.localmotors.com.
MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS), is a global leader in the desktop 3D printing industry and is leading the Next Industrial Revolution by setting the standards in reliable and affordable desktop 3D printing. Founded in 2009, MakerBot sells desktop 3D printers to innovative and industry-leading customers worldwide, including engineers, architects, designers, educators and consumers. The MakerBot® 3D Ecosystem drives accessibility and rapid adoption of 3D printing and includes Thingiverse.com, the MakerBot Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner, the MakerBot Replicator® line of Desktop 3D Printers, MakerBot Desktop, MakerBot Mobile, MakerBot PrintShop, the MakerBot MakerCare Protection Plan, the MakerBot Retail Stores and strategic partnerships with top-tier brands. MakerBot has been honored with many accolades, including Popular Mechanics’ “Overall Winner” for best 3D printer, Time’s “Best Inventions of 2012,” Popular Mechanics’ “Editor’s Choice Award,” Popular Science’s “Product of the Year,” Fast Company’s “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Consumer Electronics” and many more.
About TechShop, Inc.
Founded in October 2006, TechShop is a membership-based, do-it-yourself (DIY) workshop and fabrication studio providing access to a vibrant community of creative people and more than $1 million worth of high-quality machines, tools and software. TechShop offers classes, workshops, instruction and meet-ups for people of all ages and skill levels. TechShop is based in San Jose, Calif., with locations nationwide.
About Allseen Alliance
The AllSeen Alliance is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to enabling and driving the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support the Internet of Everything with an open, universal development framework supported by a vibrant ecosystem and thriving technical community. It is the broadest cross-industry consortium to date to advance adoption and innovation in the “Internet of Everything” in homes and industry.
About Stratasys Ltd.
Stratasys is a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions. The company's patented FDM®, PolyJet™, and WDM™ 3D Printing technologies produce prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content. Systems include 3D printers for idea development, prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Stratasys subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape, and the company operates a digital-manufacturing service, comprising RedEye, Harvest Technologies and Solid Concepts.