We’ve been seeing increased interest in incorporating Blockchain technology into the 3D printing world over the last couple of years, from being used in a military testing capacity to storing data of 3D printed aircraft parts. Blockchain, the underlying technology of decentralized cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is a set of records (blocks), that hold transactional data. In a secure transfer, important financial information, like recipient details, are then stored within the data set. Innovative companies all over the world are sitting up and taking notice, including LINK3D, which develops industrial 3D printing software to help organizations working to adopt Industry 4.0.
This fall, the AM software company, headquartered in New York City, introduced Digital Factory, its flagship, cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) that allows engineering companies to automatically manage all of their 3D printing processes for increased efficiency. Now LINK3D is announcing the first integration of blockchain technology for industrial 3D printing.
“Blockchain technology can be utilized as the backbone technology in the digital manufacturing ecosystem. Our technology is the first of its kind and will absolutely simplify and secure 3D printing processes for all industries,” said LINK3D CTO and Co-Founder Vishal Singh.
LINK3D has long been focused on software advancements for the industry. By introducing blockchain to the mix, the company will be able to connect the digital thread for AM. Its new Digital Factory helped the company realize just how important this thread is for speeding up mass adoption of 3D printing.
According to a LINK3D release, “For AM, blockchain technology offers a trusted middleware to stabilize an untrusted distributed network that continues to gain momentum and popularity in major industries.”
It is vital for 3D printing processes to have file integrity and traceability, which blockchain can help with. Before now, a seamless strand, or thread, of data to help in all aspects of the 3D printing workflow, from conceptualization and design to final production, was nonexistent. But now that the company has integrated blockchain into its Digital Factory, the product’s workflow and security have become stronger and more effective.
This integration has definitely enhanced the Digital Factory SaaS product, allowing LINK3D customers to organize their data in a safe, high-level manner across the 3D printing workflow. It also provides significant data auditability, governance, provenance, and validation.
Some of the biggest problems in the 3D printing workflow can now be solved with LINK3D’s 3D printing blockchain. In terms of facility matching and authentication, orders can now be pre-verified, thanks to the ability to store Service Bureau capability on blockchain.
The technology can track the origination and evolution of every design file to make sure that intellectual property integrity is being upheld, and blockchain can also offer peace of mind during supply chain and logistics tracking, as a part can be tracked once shipped so companies know that the right person is opening it. In addition, real-time data logs from 3D printers can now be stored in, according to LINK3D, “an immutable way for forensics during recalls and for traceability.”
According to the IDC, global spending on 3D printing technology is expected to have a five-year compound annual growth rate of 22.3%. As revenues have the potential to hit $28.9 billion by the year 2020, there will be a lot of hurdles to face. But, LINK3D’s newly integrated blockchain technology can help with the growth and survival of industrial 3D printing adoption, as it closes the loop to simplifying our 3D printing process management.
LINK3D will be attending the AMUG 2018 conference, which starts this Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri; come visit at booth #57. You can also visit the company at booth #143 in Hall A at this month’s RAPID + TCT event in Fort Worth, Texas. 3DPrint.com will also be attending RAPID.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.