3D Software

Authentise to advance digital thread for additive manufacturing with three new grants

3D printing software developer Authentise has been awarded three grants to support its Open Innovation initiatives.       

Financed by Innovate UK, the US Department of Energy and Eureka, the grants will support developments in lattice structures, cybersecurity and directed energy deposition (DED) 3D printing. 

All three development areas relate to the digital thread for additive manufacturing, with the goal of unlocking new applications and making the 3D printing process more secure and cost-effective.  

Launched three years ago, Authentise’s Open Innovation team is headed by Simon McCaldin, and works to drive innovation in additive manufacturing and the broader digital manufacturing and engineering spaces. 

Enabled by external funding, such as publicly funded research grants, the team works with clients to identify future trends and develop novel solutions to overcome key manufacturing challenges. The new funding adds to the five grants that Authentise has already led or participated in. 

“Authentise has always pursued a very intentional open innovation approach working with a myriad of partners around the world to address some of the industry’s most pressing challenges,” said Simon McCaldin, VP Open Innovation at Authentise.  “We’re delighted to have been trusted by both our project and funding partners to provide the digital backbone of the solutions. We’re excited to share the progress of these and many other projects to come.” 

According to Erica Vlahinos, VP of Additive Manufacturing at Authentise, the grants “show that Authentise keeps pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing to help accelerate the technology benefits of our customers, AM power users.” 

“Together, we are delivering a more secure and efficient technology, ready to penetrate further into the heart of manufacturing as a whole,” Vlahinos added.

Authentise grant partners. Image via Authentise.
Authentise’s grant partners. Image via Authentise.

Authentise secures three new grants 

The first grant will support the METAMAT project, which seeks to overcome challenges associated with 3D printing lattice structures. This venture is part of the Resource Efficiency for Materials and Manufacturing (REforMM) programme, and is funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency. . 

Collaborating with NS85, Teesside University, Lancaster University, and Holdson, Authentise hopes to overcome these challenges and enable the production of highly functional metallic lattice parts at scale. Authentise will work to develop a seamless integration between the manufacturer, designer, and customer.  

The DISTOPIA project aims to develop a ready-to-use Plasma-DED process to meet demand in manufacturing, repair, and remanufacturing verticals, especially in aerospace. To achieve this goal, Authentise has partnered with EPOCH Wires, The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Queen Mary University London, ION Metal, and Turkish Aerospace.

Funded by Innovate UK and enabled by Eureka’s SMART advanced manufacturing cluster, DISTOPIA will be supported by Authentise’s expertise in data-driven workflow management and digital certifications. According to Authentise, the project will combine cutting-edge digital manufacturing methods with advanced material technology. 

DISTOPIA project partners Map. Image via Authentise.
DISTOPIA project partners Map. Image via Authentise.

Authentise’s AM-Verify project is one of ten projects selected for funding by the US Department of Energy through the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII). Through AM-Verify, the company hopes to build a secure real-time measurement system which can detect if a malicious third party has accessed a 3D printing system to compromise build quality.    

Working with i3D MFG and Addiguru, Authentise will develop and demonstrate multiple verification data streams, which will be integrated into the Cyber-Physical Passport developed by CyManII. Authentise claims that this will improve cyber security and enhance the ability of manufacturers to improve reliability and quality assurance.    

Authentise logo. Image via Authentise.
Authentise logo. Image via Authentise.

Securing the digital thread

Authentise’s AM-Verify system is the latest data security offering which seeks to secure the digital thread and the additive manufacturing process. The most prominent cybersecurity risks in 3D printing tend to center on IP theft and process sabotage, through breaches of cloud-based file-sharing systems and CAD file tampering.  

Back in 2020, researchers from the University of Exeter Law School patented a 3D printing watermarking technology. This watermarking system was linked with the blockchain to enable companies to license 3D printed components and protect their intellectual property (IP).       

Blockchain is a secure decentralized digital ledger that stores data and information across a network of multiple machines. This technology has been increasingly adopted within industry and government departments as a means of securing the digital thread of the 3D printing process.

The US’ largest blockchain 3D printer network was created as part of Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD, which supports Michigan-based manufacturers to scale up their additive manufacturing activities. 

In 2019, the US Air Force partnered with blockchain as a service (BaaS) firm SIMBA Chain to enhance its 3D printing security. The Blockchain Approach for Supply Chain Additive Manufacturing Parts (BASECAMP) project leveraged SIMBA’s platform, demonstrating a blockchain approach for the registration and tracking of 3D printed throughout their lifecycle.

Elsewhere, Dutch 3D printing company Additive Industries introduced its new Job File Encryption update for MetalFAB 3D printers at Formnext 2023. This update is said to enhance intellectual property protection by encrypting job files directly into the 3D printer’s memory. 

With end-to-end protection, files remain encrypted throughout the manufacturing process. This is designed to ensure comprehensive security and flexibility in digital warehousing and digital manufacturing.    

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Featured image shows Authentise’s grant partners. Image via Authentise.