A few months ago, automotive company Daimler Buses announced the possibility for owners of Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses/touring coaches to 3D print their spare parts whenever they will need them, at an affordable price.
The Omniplus service brand from Daimler Buses provides the license management for spare parts and the manufacturing is supported by OEM 3D printer manufacturer Farsoon Technologies. Due to data and individual building instructions, the digital twin at the digital warehouse and the provision of encrypted 3D printing licenses were required to enable the spare parts to be made available worldwide in the quickest possible way, and exactly where they are currently needed. We recently learned that this assurance is provided by IP protection and licensing company Wibu-Systems.
With CodeMeter protecting the digital objects throughout the complete sales lifecycle, the 3D printed parts shop is now effective and lives up to its promise of delivering Manufacturing-as-a-Service. This means that operators of buses and coaches turned to Farsoon Technologies for the printing hardware and software and to the IP protection and licensing specialists Wibu-Systems to secure both the sensitive know-how contained in print designs and in the preprinting, printing, and billing process.
How does it work in practice?
Once they have made their purchase on the new OMNIplus 3D Printing License eshop and pick the items they need from an initial selection of 100 parts, they receive three digital items: The actual digital object data, encrypted with Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter® protection technology, and both a preprinting and a printing license.
The former is needed to prepare the print job with the Buildstar® software of Farsoon Technologies, while the latter specifies exactly how many copies of the digital object they can manufacture with the Makestar® software on a certified Farsoon printer. The entire process happens under the watchful eye of CodeMeter, whose tough encryption algorithms ensure that the digital parts cannot be reverse-engineered or otherwise tampered with and whose smart tracking capabilities and integration with Daimler Buses’ SAP system guarantees that the users of the OMNIplus service can only make as many parts as they paid for and are only billed for what they really need, a press communication reads.
The partners explain that the entire shopping and printing experience was deliberately designed to be as unobtrusive and natural as possible. Buying parts via the OMNIplus 3D Printing License shop feels like any online retail system, and the buyer will notice little of the cryptographic and license management operations taking place behind the scenes, while Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter License Central works as the license handler and arbiter in the background.
For Dr. Dirk Simon, Managing Director of Farsoon Europe, the success of the solution comes from the strong cooperation between the partners involved: “The many years of excellent cooperation between Evobus and Farsoon has really helped this complex project along. In Wibu-Systems, we have found a very good partner, and all three of us are very proud to have developed this solution in record time.”
Moving forward, Daimler Buses will expand the number of 3D printable files available on the online shop. The team has already identified around 40,000 potentially 3D printable parts from their back catalogue to add to the store.
You may want to listen to this Additive Talks session: What is the first step in implementing a digital warehouse and what happens next?
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