Charged Up: GE Shows Investors Its Energy Playbook
By Tomas Kellner – The acquisition of Alstom’s energy assets delivered $1.5 billion in synergies in 2016, $300 million above GE’s original five-year target for Alstom synergies, GE’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein told investors at a conference in New York held by GE’s Power and Renewable Energy businesses last week. “Alstom makes us more competitive,” Bornstein said. “It broadens the service base and creates long-term incremental value.”
Jobs, cash, costs and software were the key themes at the conference. Bornstein said GE Oil & Gas was now “applying the same methodology” to its planned merger with Baker Hughes. “The businesses are very complementary,” he said. “It’s going to be a merger of equals.” Bornstein said he was “highly confident” the deal would “deliver a lot more value than $1.6 billion” in synergies by 2020, the target the companies released when they announced the deal last October.
Bornstein also talked about the need to speed up the shrinking of GE’s $25 billion in “structural costs,” which are funding support functions, R&D, corporate operations and other expenses. more> https://goo.gl/z07MkD
Posted in Banking, Business, Economy, Energy & emissions, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Energy, GE, Industrial economy, Productivity, Technology
By Tomas Kellner – Until now. GE is taking a second look at nimble robots that can operate in tough spots. Last year, GE Ventures invested in Sarcos Robotics, an innovative company developing robots for tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans.
“We are really focused on the part of robotics that is about human augmentation, as opposed to human replacement,” says Sarcos Co-founder and President Fraser Smith.
These are no assembly line robots, either. Ben Wolff, Sarcos chairman and CEO, says his engineers are building dexterous robots that can do meaningful work in unpredictable or unstructured environments. Echoing Mosher’s vision, the machines can navigate new surroundings and have “very fine motor controls that allow them to manipulate objects in exactly the same way you would with your arms if you could lift so much,” Wolff says.
One such machine, the remotely operated Sarcos Guardian S snake robot, can crawl inside and inspect steam pipes within a nuclear power plant or oil storage tank. “Rather than sending a human rappelling down an 80-foot wall to look for corrosion inside a petroleum storage tank, we can send the robot,” Wolff says. more> https://goo.gl/9pYRJh
Posted in Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, robots, Technology
Honey, I Shrunk The Contract: How Plain English Is Helping GE Keep Its Business Humming
By Kristin Kloberdanz – When GE Aviation combined its three digital businesses into a single Digital Solutions unit nearly four years ago, their salespeople were eager to speed up the growth they had seen in the years before the move. They found plenty of enthusiastic customers, but they struggled to close their deals.
The reason: Customers often needed to review and sign contracts more than 100 pages long before they could start doing business.
The new business inherited seven different contracts from the three units. The clunky documents were loaded with legalese, redundancies, archaic words and wordy attempts to cover every imaginable legal. No wonder they languished unread for months. “We would call, and customers would say, ‘I can’t get through this,'” says Karen Thompson, Digital Solutions contracts leader at GE Aviation. “And that was before they even sent it to their legal team! Who is going to pick up a 100-plus-page document and sort through it to find language they disagree with? We were having trouble moving past that part to what we needed to do, which was sell our services.”
For those customers who did read the contract, negotiations would drag on and on.
That’s when Shawn Burton, Digital Solutions’ general counsel at the time, aided by a squadron of intrepid employees spread across GE, decided to deploy a disruptive and unconventional contract weapon: plain speak. Burton harked back to his law school days when he studied Plain Language, a way to condense the written word to the clear basics. He dusted off his textbooks and, with the help of his GE language commandos, used it to write a new contract. “I applied a litmus test: If someone in high school couldn’t pick this up and understand it without any context, it wasn’t plain enough,” he says.
Burton then launched a Plain Language workshop for his team where he actually dropped the old contract into a garbage can with a satisfying thud. more> https://goo.gl/HZwpno
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, How to, Leadership, Product, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Contracts, GE, Leadership, Productivity, Technology
GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.
The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, History, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, Jet engine, Manufacturing, Power plant, Productivity, Technology
By Mark Egan – As the approaching winter solstice shrouded Oslo in gloom and darkness last month, the workers at a GE factory located in the Norwegian capital found their cheer in a bright green robot known affectionately, if not officially, as “Hulk.”
The facility, which belongs to GE Healthcare, makes contrast media — the fluids doctors inject into patients to highlight organs during X-ray and CT scans. But last year a swell in orders set off by an increased demand from global customers was starting to tax the muscles of some workers. “We experienced an increase in injuries and sick leave,” says Fadi Fetyan, lean manufacturing leader at the Oslo factory.
Fetyan says that as each 6.5-pound box of contrast media came off the production line, a worker would lift it, turn sideways, lean over and place it on a pallet for shipping. A worker had to perform that physical operation seven times per minute, or as many as 3,150 times during an 8-hour shift. The repeated twisting and leaning motions caused back, shoulder and neck aches as well as hand and wrist problems.
That’s when Fetyan started thinking about help. As lean leader, he is a key player in making the factory smarter while lowering costs. So he proposed bringing in a collaborative robot — or cobot.
He reached out to FANUC, a Japanese company that specializes in building robots that automate factories, which had just the machine he needed. The robot’s first trip was to GE Healthcare’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (AME) lab in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The lab typically tests new automation technologies designed to make machines and factories work more efficiently. more> https://goo.gl/jDdEZC
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, cobot, collaborative robot, GE, Health, Jobs, Manufacturing, Productivity
What’s Next For GE In 2017: Changing The Game With A Digital Industrial Strategy
By Timothy Cheng -Every December, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt hosts a meeting with analysts and investors to walk through the company’s strategy and financial goals for the upcoming year and review major wins from the past year. This year, Immelt discussed GE’s transformation into the world’s largest digital industrial company and his plans to lead the digitization of industry and revolutionize how we make things by adopting 3D printing and other additive manufacturing technologies.
Highlighting past achievements, Immelt pointed to plans to merge GE’s Oil & Gas unit with Baker Hughes to create Baker Hughes, a GE Company. “The Baker-Hughes deal makes us one of the three big players in oil and gas,” Immelt said. “This is a good deal for investors in the right time.”
The combination will create a $32 billion fullstream oil services business — based on 2015 combined revenues — with operations in over 120 countries. He also noted that it’s been a year since GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid business — its largest single deal in history. He said that the integration of Alstom with GE’s energy businesses has already driven growth and synergies across the portfolio — on track with projections and growth targets. “Alstom and Baker Hughes are good deals and they add to the company strategically and financially,” Immelt said.
In addition to Alstom and the Baker Hughes announcement, Immelt said that GE has continued to expand its digital and additive manufacturing capabilities — the two key technologies the company is using to unlock new ways of working with customers and suppliers. more> https://goo.gl/WX0KGw
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Leadership, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, Jobs, Leadership, Manufacturing, Productivity, Technology
What Do AI And Fighter Pilots Have To Do With E-Commerce? Sentient’s Antoine Blondeau Explains
GE – Arguably, e-commerce has failed.
That may sound strange in a world where most of us shop online and major retailers are achieving significant revenues online. But, let me say it again…arguably, e-commerce has failed.
Why do I say that? It’s simple. The average e-commerce conversion rate – the percentage of shoppers that buy in a given visit—is 3 percent, while the average rate for brick and mortar stores is 17 percent. So, online, we’re selling at less than one fifth of the efficiency of physical stores, and we’re failing to close the sale 97 percent of the time.
Fortunately, new artificial intelligence solutions are closing the gap. Interestingly, the most successful solutions are built on a framework developed first for aerial combat—the OODA Loop—allowing us to develop autonomous systems to improve digital customer experiences.
The OODA Loop was developed by United States Airforce Col. John Boyd, who pondered—why are some fighter pilots successful and others not? After all, most pilots were similar physically, had the same training from the same instructors, and were flying the same aircraft. But some were aces, and some were, well, deuces.
After researching many pilots and many engagements, Boyd came up with the OODA Loop.
OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. The successful pilots would observe their surroundings, orient themselves in those surroundings, make a decision on what to do, act on that decision…and then observe their surroundings again. more> https://goo.gl/kdQKDk
By Tomas Kellner – Last year, Indian Railways (IR) awarded GE Transportation a contract to build 1,000 new diesel-electric locomotives. These next-generation machines will start the process of upgrading the IR’s 5,000 older engines — mostly from the 1970s and 1980s — that currently haul freight over its railroad network. The state-run railroad operator, which holds a 26 percent stake in the joint venture, had already had Marhaura in mind.
It typically opens new factories in underserved parts of the country. For example, GE also is building a maintenance shop for the new locomotives in Roza, Uttar Pradesh, a town in another populous state racing to catch up to the rest of the country. France’s Alstom, which won a large contract from IR for electric locomotives at the same time as GE, is building in Bihar. “They want these contracts to be catalysts for economic development,” says Nalin Jain, the CEO of GE’s Transportation and Aviation businesses in the country.
The team designing the locomotive sits at the Indian outpost of GE Global Research in Bangalore. The machine will be based on GE’s Evolution-series locomotives, which are best in class on fuel efficiency and emissions, but it will have to meet specific local requirements. For example, the six-axle locomotive can only weigh 22 tons per axle, while its heavier American cousins typically clock in between 25 and 30 tons. “You are talking about taking out as much as 48 tons for the whole locomotive,” Jain says. “That’s a lot of weight.” more> https://goo.gl/qUhBc2
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Product, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, GE, Government, India, Industrial economy, Locomotive, Technology
By Mike Keller – After you land, you hire an autonomous taxi to take you home. Along the way, the vehicle slips through intersections without stoplights, a technology made obsolete when robotic systems started communicating with each other in real time to avoid collisions. Meanwhile, your smartphone alerts your smart home that you’re coming, engaging its high-efficiency battery banks to power your environmental, lighting and sound preferences.
This is, of course, the future. The key to making this scenario a reality isn’t about developing crazy new technologies — much of what we need already exists. It involves ultrafast telecommunications that can shuttle massive amounts of information between millions of wirelessly connected devices at the same time. It’s also about the ability to control power quickly, seamlessly and with extreme efficiency, as well as better battery management and machines made more intelligent by the liberal deployment of sensors that help them understand the world around them. And it turns out that the critical component to all of this could be something decidedly unsexy: a switch.
We are all familiar with switches. The best-known type of switch, when moved to the on position, completes a circuit between the power source and the bulb, allowing electrons to flow and the light to glow. This same current control — with varying levels of complexity — is used in every device that needs electricity, from computers and medical equipment to big industrial machines. It’s also critical to systems that transmit and receive radio frequencies such as cellphone networks.
Amazingly, though, these electrical relays’ fundamental operation has remained relatively the same over the last 50 years.
But that’s about to change. A new company says it has brought these switches into the 21st century. Using advanced metallurgy and tricks learned from the semiconductor industry, California’s Menlo Micro has shrunk the traditional device down to the width of a human hair. The company is a spinoff of GE with significant investments from semiconductor maker Microsemi, Corning and Paladin Capital Group. It is commercializing 12 years of research inside GE Global Research, whose engineers were originally tasked with re-inventing the electromechanical switches used inside GE’s machines. more> https://goo.gl/jMf1Rr
Posted in Broadband, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Electronics, GE, Switch, Technology