Additive manufacturing disrupts the traditional manufacturing process by allowing for on-demand, on-site creation of parts and enabling a decentralized supply chain in which design and manufacturing are not necessarily co-located. This creates a digital flow of information from design file to finished product as known as the “digital thread.” Vulnerabilities in the transmission of data may leave companies and government organizations open to cybersecurity attacks resulting in loss of revenue from intellectual property theft or safety and national security risks from counterfeit or maliciously modified parts. This presentation will discuss how digital distribution of information can be authenticated, transported and recorded by blockchain transactions, leading to a safer digital supply chain.
- Describe how blockchain technology can be used to control data flow in the digital supply chain
- Anticipate cybersecurity vulnerabilities when digital manufacturing is integrated into their supply chain
- Identify existing digital threads in their manufacturing processes
Why Is It Important?
As manufacturing moves toward Industry 4.0, the movement of parts along the supply chain simultaneously involves the movement of data. Digital Manufacturing (DM), enabled by additive manufacturing, offers a faster, more flexible supply chain process which can accelerate the prototyping process and decreases the time to market. Our presentation will give a brief overview of how digital manufacturing is disrupting the supply chain and how blockchain enabled software can protect the digital flow of information from design to in-field use. Three factors to consider when implementing a digital supply chain are security, standardization, and traceability. Digital asset management will be integral to protect against lost revenue from intellectual property theft, as well as safety and national security risks from counterfeit or maliciously modified parts. Digital assets can be standardized by coupling files with business rules that restrict manufacturing machine parameters. Finally, the digital life of the part must be added to its provenance, creating a digital thread that connects the design file with the physical object.For smart contract enabled blockchain such as Hyperledger Fabric a digital distribution license can be authenticated, transported and recorded by blockchain transactions. Within a given blockchain, the cryptographically-secured shared ledger preserves the entire recorded history of transactions and ensures data integrity. Additionally, the blockchain network is governed by consensus. Each node can vote on the authenticity of any transaction and reject fraudulent transactions. This decentralized structure means no single company will have ownership or undue influence on data records in the ledger.The manufacturing sector is the third most targeted sector for cyber-attacks after the government and the financial sectors.