The future of product design will be multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional, if the work of Prabhjot Singh, manager of the Additive Manufacturing Lab at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY is any indication.
Currently, Singh is using additive manufacturing (more commonly known as 3-D printing) to fabricate new parts for ultrasound machines. The idea is to make products faster and more efficiently, so they can be easily dispatched to underserved regions.
Everyone on the lab team is self-motivated and passionate, but with passion comes the risk of “tunnel vision.” To stay vital, Singh makes a practice of looking up from his work and looking across the hall at the Research Center, and encourages others to do the same.
“In our group, because we look at materials, technology, and process all at the same time, I can go take a concept to the materials folks, and then we’ll take it to a designer and if it’s something that we want to pursue, we make that decision,” Singh says.
The structure of the research center, and GE’s corporate environment in general, helps Singh and his team incorporate innovation into all of their projects. In addition to encouraging employees to publish papers on their findings and join professional organizations, GE also supports their stepping across traditional disciplinary lines if so motivated.
“One day you could be working on manufacturing and the next day combustion–which provides for a very dynamic environment,” Singh says.