GE files patent to use blockchain technology in additive manufacturing
By using blockchain technology GE would be able to trace all of their AM produced parts from design through final production.
Recognizing the opportunity of blockchain in connection with the additive manufacturing industry, GE has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for blockchain in the use of verifying and validating 3D printed objects in its supply chain.
In a statement released early last week, GE cites the current lack of “verification and validation systems for ensuring that objects produced by the process are appropriately certified,” as the primary reason the patent was filed.
It goes on to state that basically any user with access to an additive manufacturing device would be able to copy the design without referring to the proper build file that GE created. By filing for this patent the company hopes to lower the chances of customers unknowingly buying a counterfeit part.
By using blockchain technology GE would be able to trace all of their AM produced parts from design through final production as well as putting a seal of approval on all materials, processes and devices used to create their products.
What this doesn’t represent is GE cutting off every mom and pop 3D printing business. It’s aimed far higher at international big businesses who would theoretically steal a GE design and sell it at a considerably lower price.
Earlier this year, GE also announced that they had joined Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) a consortium focused on creating drafting policy and regulations around the transportation and logistics industry.