- Local Motors’ co-creation and micro-manufacturing expertise to accelerate new product introductions for GE Appliances
- University of Louisville, GE Appliances collaborate on advanced manufacturing hub that will support student and micro-factory projects
Louisville, Ky. —April 16, 2014 —Today, GE (NYSE:GE) announced its first micro-factory, FirstBuild™, will be in Louisville, Ky., GE Appliances’ headquarters.
“To win in the appliance industry, we have to innovate faster than ever before since we are now competing with companies that apply their rapid electronic products introduction strategy to the appliance industry,” said Kevin Nolan, GE Appliances’ vice president of technology. “This new model will enable us to be more creative in the design and delivery of the products, and do so with lower risk and cost while drastically reducing the time from mind to market. FirstBuild* will also enable us to move select products to larger scale production with more confidence because they will have been vetted by the new platform first.”
The new FirstBuild micro-factory will be located on the University of Louisville (UofL) Belknap Campus and will officially open this summer. It will harness the power of an open platform and a global co-creation community to power micro-manufacturing capabilities to accelerate the introduction of the products consumers want, when they want them. The location will also enable easy access for engineering, advanced manufacturing and other student activities to build a strong local network of on-site community members.
Today, America is searching to define its new manufacturing soul,” said Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors. “Many people assume this industrial reinvigoration will come out of the tech hubs of San Francisco, Boston or New York. Trends such as micro-manufacturing powered by co-creation, however, as well as the industrial Internet are showing us that cities like Louisville can again be leaders in the Third Industrial Revolution. FirstBuild is showing us that it is happening right now.”
The new FirstBuild community will focus on the future of cooking as its first set of projects. It will provide a platform for a global community of innovators to prototype, iterate and refine existing GE products, as well as surface new designs. Local community members will be encouraged to work alongside FirstBuild employees to bring the community designs to life at the East Brandeis Avenue micro-factory location. To learn more, sign up at www.firstbuild.com.
“We selected Louisville for the first micro-factory because of the strong collaborative innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that is nurtured by the UofL and our city government,” said Nolan. “It is also important to be close to GE Appliances’ design and engineering teams to ensure real-time iteration as small batch production of community designs are transitioned to larger scale production.”
UofL, which owns the building where FirstBuild will be housed, will be much more involved than a typical landlord. UofL and GE Appliances have plans to create an Advanced Manufacturing hub where students can conduct research while getting practical training on the latest additive manufacturing and technologies in the micro-factory setting.
FirstBuild employees and on-site community members will use social media tools daily to keep community members around the world appraised of the progress being made at the facility on the designs they helped to create. To become a community member or for more information, please visit www.firstbuild.com.
*Microfactory, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of GE and FirstBuild is a registered trademark of Microfactory, Inc.
FirstBuild is a global co-creation community backed by GE Appliances, a Haier company that harnesses the brainpower of the maker movement to change the way major home appliances are conceived, designed and manufactured. A physical state-of-the-art microfactory on the University of Louisville campus and online forum, FirstBuild speeds products from mind to market and enables customization through small batch production, without the costs and risks of traditional mass manufacturing. For more information about how to get involved, visit FirstBuild.com.
About GE Appliances
GE Appliances, a Haier company, makes moments that matter for our owners through our passion for making great appliances and providing unparalleled services. Owners have more choices than ever before under the Hotpoint, GE®, Haier, GE Café™, GE Profile™ and Monogram® brands. Our products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners and water filtration systems. For more information visit www.geappliances.com/our-company.
About Local Motors
Local Motors combines co-creation and micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations to market at unprecedented speed. The Company’s global co-creation community is made up of enthusiasts, hobbyist innovators and professionals. They are designers, engineers, and makers. Local Motors operates a growing global network of microfactories. Each destination is a place where innovators create amazing products and consumers come to marvel and to shop. The Company offers its unique product development system to select partners who want to innovate at a similar speed. Local Motors and its community make the coolest machines together. For more information about Local Motors, visit www.localmotors.com.