General Electric has a purchase agreement to acquire Metem Corporation, a New Jersey-based specialist in the technology of precision drilling for cooling holes in turbine blades. Metem has three plants — Parsippany, N.J.; Allentown, Penn.; and Szazhalombatta, Hungary — each one equipped with fully integrated machining capabilities for hot-gas path and combustion components in turbine engines.
In its announcement, GE stated the operation would be a strategic development for its GE Power division, as demand for Metem’s advanced manufacturing technologies increases. It added that it intends to expand the Metem’s capabilities and production capacity.
Metem’s close-tolerance manufacturing capabilities include: ECM turbulated STEM drilling (curved, shaped, complex angle, deep holes); multi-axis fast hole drill EDM; CNC EDM; conventional EDM; wire EDM; a patented "drill-thru-TBC" coating process; conventional machining; and part assembly.
The value of the purchase agreement was not announced. GE said the transaction would close during Q1 2016, but two businesses would continue to operate separately, and Metem would continue to be managed by its existing leadership team.
The GE Power Generation business unit is the world’s largest manufacturer of gas turbines in various sizes and power ratings. It also develops steam turbines and other power generation technologies. Recently, it announced plans to establish a "Center of Excellence" for heavy-duty gas turbines in Belfort, France.
Heavy-duty gas turbines must endure very high operating temperatures in order to perform effectively, which makes the metal forming the blades weaker. Turbine blade cooling technology is an important element of GE’s gas turbine design, and “to realize supply chain efficiencies and reduce costs,” GE decided to bring cooling hole-drilling capability “in-house.”
GE and Metem been in business together since the 1970s, and currently GE is Metem’s largest customer.
“Gas turbines coupled with services are the core of GE Power,” stated Mike Chanatry, vice president of Gas Power Systems Supply Chain. “Our acquisition of Alstom’s power business has significantly improved our competitiveness, particularly in our technology leadership position and global presence. But, we have not stopped there.”
Chanatry continued: “In addition to adding to the GE Store capabilities, acquiring Metem would help achieve synergies by improving the overall cost base of products.”