Positioning itself to meet the growing demand for industrial and infrastructure inspection technology solutions worldwide, GE today announced it is investing more than $10 million to expand its Inspection Technologies headquarters site in Lewistown, Pa. Key features of the expansion project include a new global customer applications center as well as a nondestructive testing (NDT) academy for GE employees and customers.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson and Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman, whose respective legislative districts include GE’s Lewistown facility, joined local officials as well as GE executives and the plant’s workforce for a ground-breaking ceremony at the site today.
GE’s current 82,000 square-foot facility employs more than 230 people in the production of NDT inspection tools used by companies in the oil and gas, power generation, metals manufacturing, automotive and aerospace sectors. GE’s Inspection Technologies business is continuing to grow as more industrial operators embrace the use of NDT solutions to monitor the condition of their equipment and more accurately predict when certain components might need repair or replacement—thus helping them to avoid costly, unplanned maintenance outages.
GE’s 52,000-square-foot expansion project will increase the facility’s floor space by more than 63 percent and is scheduled to be completed in 2012.
“Our new expansion will allow us to proceed with our ambitious plans for our Customer Applications Center and NDT Academy while providing us with the extra space we need to upgrade our manufacturing capabilities,” said Jeff Anderson, senior executive, product management for GE’s Inspection Technologies business.
The expansion will enable GE to maintain its position as a leader in developing and manufacturing a wide range of remote visual inspection, ultrasonic, electromagnetic, advanced radiography and computed tomography systems as well as data management software. These NDT systems are used to help extend the life of industrial assets in the oil and gas, power generation, metals manufacturing, automotive and aerospace sectors by providing timely, quality assessments of equipment used by these industrial sectors.
GE’s technology also is used to inspect the quality and integrity of new products—such as jet engine blades before they are installed—and infrastructure assets including bridges and pipelines. Key growth areas for GE’s Inspection Technologies business are composites; weld inspections and corrosion monitoring for bridges, pipelines and other structures; and rotating machinery including jet engines and wheels. For example, the growing use of composite materials by aerospace and wind turbine blade manufacturers is driving a demand for more advanced inspection solutions since the primary method for inspecting these composites is ultrasound.
GE’s New Customer Applications Center, NDT Academy
Upon completion, GE’s new Customer Applications Center will work with GE customers to help solve the world’s toughest inspection challenges. Currently GE hosts more than 200 customer visits a year at the site; a number that will increase with the larger space.
“The expansion project will allow us to expand our new product development, manufacturing and training and create a world-class inspection technologies headquarters that reflects our leadership presence in the NDT industry,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, GE’s planned NDT Academy will be used to train both GE employees and customers on GE’s latest NDT tools, helping address a global shortage of well-trained NDT personnel. The training academy also will offer partnership opportunities for local colleges and universities.
Project’s Economic Benefits for Lewistown and Central Pa. Region
“This expansion project will be of great benefit to the central Pennsylvania region as GE’s Lewistown site currently spends more than $5 million per year with Pennsylvania suppliers, and we will invest millions of dollars in new product development over the next few years,” Anderson said.
The facility’s enhanced training activities alone are expected to benefit the local economy by more than $1 million per year in increased hotel accommodations and related living expenses.
In terms of job creation, the Lewistown site has already added more than 50 positions in 2011, most of them highly technical. The expansion project is expected to enable GE to hire approximately 60 more people over the next three years.
The expansion project also is expected to create more than 100 local construction jobs. All of the firms on the team hired to design and build the expansion project are located in the central Pennsylvania region, including RAL Architecture + Design, architectural design, Lewisburg; Zartman Construction, general construction, Northumberland; Michael L. Norris & Associates, HVAC, plumbing, fire suppression and electrical engineering, State College; and Penn Terra Engineering, site design, State College.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy—GE Power & Water, GE Energy Management and GE Oil & Gas—work together with more than 100,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.
Tom Murnane, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: tom.murnane[.]mastopr.com.
Ken Darling, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: kenneth.darling[.]ge.com.
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