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Secure Additive Manufacturing Using Blockchain Technology with SAMPL Project

Additive manufacturing processes and blockchain technology are currently seen as some of the most potentially disruptive technologies. German IT company PROSTEP, together with its partners (see image below), developed an initial prototype of the security solution within the framework of the SAMPL project.

Additive manufacturing processes allow components like prototypes and spare parts, for example, to be produced quickly, but they also raise a number of security and copyright-related issues. It must be possible to guarantee that only authorized persons have access to the data, that only the original data is printed, and that this data cannot be misused to manufacture pirate copies following its authorized use, especially when it comes to security-critical components.

The demonstrator for the Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform (SAMPL), which PROSTEP is presenting together with other partners from 24 to 28 April at the Hanover trade fair, shows how 3D print data can be better protected. Interested parties will be given the opportunity to have a component printed in 3D and to follow the route the data takes and see how the blockchain technology is utilized all the way through to the finished component. Use your “license” for secure 3D printing on a certified printer and take your printed part home with you.

SAMPL is a consortium project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The aim of the project is to develop an end-to-end security solution for additive manufacturing that covers the entire process from creating the digital 3D print data to exchanging the data with 3D print service providers and their trusted 3D printers through to tagging the printed components using RFID chips.

The foundation for the platform is provided by the data exchange solution OpenDXM GlobalX, in which PROSTEP has integrated a digital license management component based on blockchain technology. Blockchain is a method best known from the world of finance, where it is used to verify the authenticity of digital payment transactions. It can, however, also be used for transactions like issuing licenses.

The consortium includes PROSTEP as lead, the Hamburg-based companies NXP Semiconductors and consider it, 3D MicroPrint in Chemnitz, the University of Hamburg, the University of Ulm, Harburg Technical University, the Frauhofer Institute ENAS in Chemnitz and the associated partners are Airbus and EvoBus. The aircraft manufacturer has, among other things, specified the requirements and use cases for additive manufacturing. EvoBus is interested in using the project results for the world wide provision of spare parts using local 3D-printing partners.

The aircraft manufacturer has, among other things, specified the requirements and use cases for additive manufacturing. NXP provides the secure elements for the 3D printers and the RFID chips for this application. The basic blockchain implementation is being done by the company consider it. The university partners are involved in developing the security and blockchain architecture and will work on integrating the project results into teaching in particular.

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