When the Blockchain is leveraged in the additive manufacturing industry

The blockchain is a technology that enables people or companies to store and digitize information in a secure and transparent way. It is managed in a decentralized way, therefore does not require the intervention of an authority.

The technology is increasingly used in various industries. If banks are still questioning its potential in money transactions, other fields such as transport are developing standards in order to address the issues within the cargo transport area.

In the additive manufacturing industry, the technology is still at its early stage. General Electric will very soon be exploring the benefits of the blockchain. They recently filed for a patent in order to use it to verify their 3D printed parts.

How exactly?

According to the industrial company, this technology would enable them to prevent other companies to duplicate its 3D printing technique without being seen as a cheap imitation. In other words, the blockchain will validate GE’s 3D printing technique. It could monitor the manufacturing numbers of every piece created by the company.

The problem is that when a replacement par for an industrial player is reproduced by a third party, it is not possible for end users to verify whether the replacement part “was produced using a correct build file, using correct manufacturing media, and on a properly configured additive manufacturing device.

For GE, “It would therefore be desirable to provide systems and methods for implementing a historical data record of an additive manufacturing process with verification and validation capabilities that may be integrated into additive manufacturing devices.”

It should be noted that this is neither the first move of GE in the exploration of blockchain, nor the first company to use this technology to validate its 3D printing technique.

Lastly, other applications of the blockchain exist and before the market becomes mature, it is crucial to understand the good and the bad this technology can bring.

Are you an expert of the blockchain? Feel free to reach out to us to discuss this issue.

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