Digital security for the 3D printing supply chain

Identify3D Protect software, is available stand-alone or in optional embedded format (shown here within Siemens NX design software). In this first of three software tools, users control design content, manufacturing policies and licensing policies within the digital supply chain of AM parts. (Image courtesy Identify3D)No matter the specific process, additive manufacturing (AM) can’t exist without a digital stream of data. From 3D CAD design through to final inspection, computer files define the intellectual property (IP) of the part itself, the build set-up, process settings, any monitoring steps, and complete provenance.

In this age of hacking and cyber attacks, manufacturers must consider whether this data is vulnerable to being stolen, misused or purposely corrupted. One company tackling this problem is Identify3D, founded in 2014 and about to launch a trio of targeted software tools in Q1 2018.

Stephan Thomas, co-founder/chief strategy officer, Identify3D, says he met Joe Inkenbrandt, the other company co-founder/CEO, at a business lecture. Thomas comes from a background of supply chains and operations and Inkenbrandt is experienced with IT security. Thomas notes, “I was fascinated by the potential supply-chain problems that AM could solve, i.e., the benefits of decentralized manufacturing, and Joe was already thinking about IP protection in additive.”

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