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
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The bedrock of Secure Channels Technology is a uniquely modified and enhanced process based on superencipherment. Superencipherment is the process of encrypting an already encrypted message one or more times, either using the same or a different algorithm.