Welcome!

News Feed Item

The Business of Making Things: FirstBuild™ Microfactory Opens in Louisville, Ky.

(NYSE:GE) — From the color of appliances to personalized features, consumers want the ability to customize the everyday products they use to suit their individual lifestyle needs. Through the FirstBuild™ Microfactory*, which officially opened today in Louisville, Ky., the online and local community members can design products and help solve engineering challenges that will fast-track community-driven innovation to market.

The FirstBuild lab features an electronics prototyping center, laser cutter, hardware components and ...

The FirstBuild lab features an electronics prototyping center, laser cutter, hardware components and the latest tools and technology. (Photo: GE)

Until now, customization and speed to market presented challenges for mass appliance manufacturers like GE Appliances, the parent company of FirstBuild. Today’s opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory will not only enable customization through small-batch production, but will help get these products to market faster than ever before without the cost and risk of traditional mass manufacturing.

“Partnering with a global co-creation community and using micromanufacturing to develop new products are unprecedented in the appliance industry. There certainly isn’t a ‘how-to’ guide for us to follow,” said Kevin Nolan, GE Appliances’ Vice President of Technology. “Shifting to a market and community-driven innovation strategy will help determine which products we reserve for customization and which are appropriate to transfer to our larger-scale production facilities.”

At the FirstBuild Microfactory grand opening event in Louisville on July 24, community-driven innovation became a reality and new products were unveiled that will soon go into production and will be sold on FirstBuild.com. In the coming months, consumers can buy the following products that were either developed by the FirstBuild online community and/or made by hand in the FirstBuild Microfactory.

  • Smart Pitcher: FirstBuild’s refrigerator will store a water dispenser inside the fresh food compartment. When the pitcher sits underneath the level-sensing dispenser—voila!—cold, fresh water fills the pitcher and stops automatically. FirstBuild’s first version of the product will include the smart-fill feature, with a planned upgrade to include water filtration this fall.
  • Space-Saving, No-Stall Disposer: This low-profile disposer design creates 4 inches of additional space under the sink, helps eliminate the accidental grinding of foreign objects and uses a brushless motor and smart sensors to sense a potential motor stall. The disposer is designed for easy consumer installation—it snaps in and twists into place.
  • Easy-Slide Oven Door: A dual oven with an ergonomically designed door makes it easy to retrieve dishes without reaching into the oven’s cavity. The top oven features a door that pulls out just like any other drawer in your kitchen. The easy-slide oven door also includes a “peek” feature, allowing cooks to visually monitor progress without disrupting the cooking process.
  • LineCook: LineCook is inspired by the desire to eliminate the variability that produces over- and under-cooked food. The idea gained traction through a project introduced by a member of Louisville’s most popular hackerspace, LVL1. “LineCook,” an oven that scans the barcode of prepared foods and automatically sets the cooking method, time and temperature, has become FirstBuild’s first community-led project, with commercial availability pending.

The opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory follows a recent announcement that GE partnered with Local Motors, the open-source hardware innovator, to launch a new model for the manufacturing industry, which pairs co-creation and micromanufacturing with a focus on speeding the time from mind to market. The partnership leverages advanced manufacturing processes and an open innovation approach to engineering—delivering benefits for consumers and enterprise alike.

Most recently, MakerBot and TechShop have partnered with FirstBuild. These alliances, and others to come, will forever change the way companies design, make and sell products. To learn more about how these companies plan to work together visit: http://pressroom.geappliances.com/news/makerbot-and-techshop-join-ges-collaborative-innovation-strategy.

FirstBuild.com community members will submit ideas, vote on which concepts become challenges or projects, and determine which products move on to production. Prizes and sales royalties will be awarded to community members who make significant contributions. To learn more, sign up at FirstBuild.com.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or check out our website for more information
Friend GE Appliances on Facebook to view how-to videos, learn about new GE appliances and join in the discussion with other GE appliance owners. Join today and follow @GE_Appliances on Twitter or just locate detailed information about our products at www.geappliances.com.

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

About GE Appliances
GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit www.ge.com/appliances.

*Microfactory, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of GE, and FirstBuild is a registered trademark of Microfactory, Inc.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
StackIQ has announced the release of Stacki 3.2. Stacki is an easy-to-use Linux server provisioning tool. Stacki 3.2 delivers new capabilities that simplify the automation and integration of site-specific requirements. StackIQ is the commercial entity behind this open source bare metal provisioning tool. Since the release of Stacki in June of 2015, the Stacki core team has been focused on making the Community Edition meet the needs of members of the community, adding features and value, while ...
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, gave users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion with b...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., and Logan Best, Infrastructure & Network Engineer at Webair, focused on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He gave an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He also outlined what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix ...
"Operations is sort of the maturation of cloud utilization and the move to the cloud," explained Steve Anderson, Product Manager for BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
UpGuard has become a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and will continue to help businesses expand visibility into their cyber risk by providing hardening benchmarks to all customers. By incorporating these benchmarks, UpGuard's CSTAR solution builds on its lead in providing the most complete assessment of both internal and external cyber risk. CIS benchmarks are a widely accepted set of hardening guidelines that have been publicly available for years. Numerous solutions exist t...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...