GE aerospace revenue up 27% amid growth in orders for improved LEAP engines for 3D printing


General Electric (GE) announced that its aerospace revenue increased 27% in the second quarter of 2022 amid sales of 3D printing-enabled engines to high-profile customers.

As GE’s latest financial statements revealed, it generated $18.6 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2022, 5% more than the $17.9 billion reported in the second quarter of 2021, measured on an organic basis. During the company’s earnings call, its chief financial officer, Carolina Dybeck Happe, explained how this growth was driven by the performance of the company’s aerospace division, which has seen demand “significantly increase” for its products. engines and associated services.

GE Aerospace’s revenue is also expected to be boosted in the coming quarters by the sale of more than 200 CFM International LEAP-1B 3D printing-enabled engines to key customers Delta Air Lines and Qatar Airways.

The engines feature 3D-printed fuel nozzles that are said to make them 15% more fuel efficient than CFM56 alternatives. Under an agreement reached in July 2022, the engines will soon be installed on customers’ fleets of Boeing 737-10 aircraft, enabling them to fly more sustainably and with fuel economy in mind.

“The GE team delivered a strong second quarter with growth in orders, revenue and earnings, as well as positive free cash flow. Aerospace was a key driver of our performance this quarter as the industry recovery gains momentum,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., CEO of GE and GE Aerospace. .”

CFM International’s LEAP 1-B engine. Image via CFM International.

GE’s second quarter 2022 financial results

GE does not break down its financials to provide specific details about its GE Additive business, but it is possible to gauge the company’s 3D printing exploits through the performance of related segments. Following a corporate reorganization, as part of its preparations to split its Aviation, Healthcare, Renewable Energy, Power and Digital businesses into three companies by 2024, it now reports results across four divisions.

In those segments, which currently include power, renewables, healthcare and aerospace, the latter was GE’s best performer in the second quarter of 2022, grossing $6.1 billion. Due to the company’s recent restructuring, it’s not possible to compare this figure on a like-for-like basis until the second quarter of 2021, but it did see substantial year-over-year growth in hardware revenue. engine and services, in a context of market recovery.

The division also has significance for 3D printing, as GE bought Arcam and Concept Laser in 2016, and has used its acquired technologies extensively to produce aerospace parts, such as parts for its GE9X engine, ever since. . Although the company’s earnings call makes no mention of GE9X revenue, it continues to sell M-Line systems, so its aerospace revenue is probably the best predictor of its 3D printer sales.

Elsewhere, GE’s Healthcare and Power divisions were flat compared to the second quarter of 2021, but the strong performance of GE’s Aerospace segment was offset by a 23% decline in its renewables revenue. During the company’s earnings call, Happe said this was due to it receiving lower stage payments and the dynamics of the North American market, issues mitigated slightly by securing a contract to modernize hydroelectric power stations.

Division revenue ($) Q2 2021 Q2 2022 Difference (%)
Aerospace 4.8 billion 6.1 billion +27
Health care 4.5 billion 4.5 billion
Renewable energy 4 billion 3 billions -23
Power 4.3 billion 4.2 billion -2
Total 17.9 billion 18.6 billion +5

GE’s 3D printing advances in Q2 2022

While GE isn’t always eager to report on its 3D printing business in its financial statements, its GE Aviation subsidiary and GE Additive business unit reported advancements in the technology during the second quarter of 2022. which could facilitate its future growth. Early in the quarter, GE Aviation’s Avio Aero business had its partially 3D-printed Catalyst engine selected by Airbus to power its Eurodrone surveillance UAV.

Soon after, the company also became the first to offer metal 3D printing for commercial jet engine repair through its Singapore-based Loyang plant. When the complex was unveiled as the first maintenance, repair and overhaul company to be approved for use of the technology in this field, Chen Keng Nam, head of GE Aviation, said he would “have many applications, not just in aviation”.

GE Additive was also busy during the period, signing an agreement with Orchid Orthopedic Solutions, in which it pledged to drive the adoption of 3D printing in the medical implant industry. So did GE’s renewable energy segment, which not only opened a new wind turbine R&D facility dedicated to 3D printing their concrete bases, but also invested in construction 3D printing company COBOD.

When this latest decision was made, Matteo Bellucci, head of technology innovation at GE Renewable Energy, said it was “another sign of its commitment to contribute to the energy transition”. On GE’s earnings call, Happe weighed in on the matter, saying the “fundamental importance of renewables” in pursuing this goal gives it confidence that it will be able to “drive profitability ” in the region over time.

A Protolabs engineer using a Concept Laser 3D printer.
A Protolabs engineer using a Concept Laser machine. Photo via Protolabs.

Anticipate persistent difficulties

Despite the performance of its aerospace division in the second quarter, Culp Jr told listeners on GE’s earnings call that it “continues to trend down its outlook for 2022 on all metrics, at the free cash flow exception”. Even then, the CEO explained that a delay in renewable energy orders, along with GE’s attempts to shield customers from the impact of supply chain issues, could now lead to a revenue deferral of 1 billion dollars.

That said, the company still attracted $18.7 billion in orders over the period, which is up 4% on an organic basis. Happe also suggested seasonality would bring a “really noticeable” improvement to GE’s second-half growth numbers.

“We have over 100% free cash flow in the second half, and 80% of our net income, taking 2021 as a benchmark,” Happe concluded. “So it’s not uncommon, and we expect a strong sequential improvement in growth that continues to accelerate throughout the year, with improvement across all segments except renewables. “

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The image shown shows CFM International’s LEAP 1-B engine. Picture via CFM International.


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