Recently, there has been increasing connection between 3D printing and blockchain technology, in which a series of records are linked using cryptography. It’s a secure method of storing and transferring data, and certain 3D printing companies have recognized the efficacy of the technology in protecting the integrity and traceability of 3D printing processes. Particularly in industrial 3D printing, it’s vital that all 3D printing processes are traceable as well as secure, which is a challenge in an increasingly digital world. Blockchain makes it possible to securely record and transmit data related to these processes, and more than one company has taken notice.
The latest 3D printing company to express an interest in blockchain is GE, which recently filed a patent application for the use of blockchain in the use of verifying and validating 3D printed objects in its supply chain. The application was filed in December and was released last month by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
“Current systems for additive manufacturing lack verification and validation systems for ensuring that objects produced by the process are appropriately certified,” the patent application states. “If, for example, a replacement part for an industrial asset is possible to produce via an additive manufacturing process, any user with access to an appropriately configured additive manufacturing device can reproduce the part. End users who purchase or otherwise receive such a part [have] no way of verifying that a replacement part manufactured in this way was produced using a correct build file, using correct manufacturing media, and on a properly configured additive manufacturing device.”
GE believes that the use of blockchain technology could ensure that counterfeit parts are not being sold. The system would give all of GE’s additively manufactured parts a pedigree, so to speak, allowing them to be traced from design to production, as well as certifying the materials, machines and processes used. This isn’t the first time that GE has expressed interest in blockchain technology, either. Last year, the US Patent and Trademark Office released five GE patent applications, filed in 2016, relating to different blockchain applications for aircraft maintenance.
GE also announced earlier this year that it had joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a blockchain consortium aimed at creating standards in the transportation and logistics industry.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.
You May Also Like
Generative Design, Digital Twin, WAAM 3D Printing Used to Optimize Industrial Robot Arm
3D printing specialist MX3D has been working on a metal AM technology to create large items, such as bicycles and bridges, using robots. Now, the Dutch startup has partnered up...
Siemens and CEAD Develop Hybrid 3D Printing Robotic Arm
3D printing with continuous reinforcement fibers, like carbon fiber, is just now starting to come into its own, with numerous startups developing their own unique approaches to the concept. Their...
3D Print the New Youbionic Human Arm at Home or Through a Service
Youbionic, founded in 2015, has recently released its new Human Arm. The wildly creative Italian tech startup is on a mission to accentuate already sophisticated technology around the world, while...
Developing 3D Printed Soft Actuators for Robotic Arms
As 3D printing and electronics continue to advance—along with robotics—soft actuators are becoming a great subject of study, as thesis student Hong Fai Lau outlines in the recently published ‘3D-Printed...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.