From their logo through to general parlance; the multinational conglomerate that is General Electric is known by its GE initials. GE was founded in 1892 when Edison General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York, merged with the Massachusetts Thomson-Houston Electric Company. That GE still exists is an obvious mark of its success and, depending on survey parameters; GE is ranked 26th-largest firm in the US by gross revenue, as well as the 14th most profitable; alternatively, they are listed the fourth largest in the world in Forbes Global 2000. No matter which way you look at it; they are large and important to the world economy.
Today; a big chunk of their revenues comes from financial services; but, they remain very much a manufacturing company; ignoring consumer appliances and lighting; GE is a leader in oil and gas equipment; power generation (including nuclear) and gas turbine manufacture for land based or aerospace use.
When GE Wants Something; It Usually Gets What It Wants
With so much of their business at the high end, extremes of engineering design and manufacture; GE need to be fully up to speed on the materials required to manufacture and complete their products; be it a nuclear power plant or a gas turbine capable of powering an aircraft’s flight half way round the world. The margin for error in material selection is just about zero for many of their products.
Subsea oil or gas wellheads can blow out from material failure; planes can fall out of the sky if the metal in their turbine’s blades was not correctly specified; and, as to nuclear plant; the less said the better!
Standards & Specifications
GE has its own manufacturing plants around the world and a host of sub-contracting firms supply components to all of them. How does GE ensure that everything that goes into those plants and comes out as finished products is totally correct? As far as the materials for manufacture are concerned; skilled people prepare designs to perform certain functions and they then list what materials are to be used for each and every component. Their decisions are then incorporated into GE requisitions and manufacturing drawings. Material decisions start from various recognized material specs from bodies like ASTM, SAE, AMS and others; but, are then further refined into a unique GE spec that exactly describes the precise material that GE need for a particular function. All parts will be inspected and tested to ensure full compliance with these GE specs.
For example, in many aerospace applications, a nickel based superalloy to ASTM B637 or AMS 5662 is essential. Such an alloy can be sourced from several different producers; but, before a component can be sent to GE; the supplier must prove beyond all doubt that the material meets the GE S-400 specification. For more information visit.