GE employees at the MR magnet production facility in Florence, South Carolina.
This new facility will use advanced manufacturing processes and technologies to produce Magnetic Resonance imaging systems. (Copyright – Sandy Andrews Photography)
GE Healthcare leaders were recently joined by local leaders and government officials in Florence, South Carolina, to break ground on a new $17 million helium liquefaction facility. The state-of-the-art, 5,000-square-foot facility will create 50 jobs including 10 permanent positions, building upon GE Healthcare’s 30-year roots in South Carolina.
This new helium liquefaction facility, adjacent to GE Healthcare’s existing Magnetic Resonance (MR) production plant in Florence, will use advanced manufacturing processes and innovative technologies to capture pure helium gas and compress it into extremely cold – more than 440 degrees below zero Fahrenheit – liquid form.
Used for much more than balloons, helium is the only element on earth currently able to keep super-conducting magnets at the necessary temperature for functioning, and is essential to the production of Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging systems. Unlike X-ray and Computed Tomography (CT), MR technology uses a powerful magnet to effectively see inside a patient’s body without radiation exposure, providing a critical diagnostic tool used for a range of medical needs.
“MR imaging provides an unparalleled look into a patient’s body and helps us diagnose disease early, fast and accurately,” said Rob Colones, president and CEO of McLeod Health based in Florence, SC. “We use a GE Healthcare MR system to treat patients at our hospital, and in that system is a SC-made magnet. It’s encouraging to be so close to such innovative medical research and production as we all push toward the same goal of serving patients.”
GE is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of superconducting magnets for whole body diagnostic imaging. The new facility in South Carolina aligns with GE’s investment of $1 million into proprietary helium conservation technologies, as well as GE’s global ecomagination and healthymagination initiatives aimed at transforming healthcare delivery through innovation, partnerships and sustainability.
This groundbreaking is yet another manifestation of GE’s leadership in advanced manufacturing. Marrying the worlds of hardware and software to create previously unimaginable products that help redefine the future of the medical industry allows GE to best partner with the communities in which it is rooted, the skilled workforce therein, and leading healthcare providers around the globe to help treat patients and bring about the next industrial revolution.
The new facility in South Carolina aligns with GE's investment of $1 million into proprietary helium conservation technologies