General Electric recently announced plans to build a new R&D Center in Michigan, near Detroit. While portions o the Center will house Software Engineers, much of it will relate to advanced composites for renewable energy, aircraft engine, gas turbine and other high-technology products. The further development of composites, machining, inspection, casting and coating technologies will be pursued to benefit GE’s Aviation and Energy businesses.
This move generally marks a change in direction for GE’s growth in the United States. Prior to this announcement, most of their new operations were opening in Asia and India. There is a potential for a large number of new jobs should this plan reach fruition. Heavy tax incentives and a large number of unemployed engineers have helped make this plan make sense.
The locating of such a large composites R&D center near the automotive heart of America shows how important composites are to the future of American automobiles. Traveling by cars, planes, and trains consume mass amounts of energy, which is only going to become more expensive. Reducing the amount of energy consumption will improve the cost effectiveness of new materials and technologies.
GE is aligned very closely with the Federal Government, who now owns two car companies that also happen to be in Detroit. I would expect to see a lot of collaboration amongst all of these parties as time goes forward.