SLM Solutions, a German metal 3D printer manufacturer, has announced that it will integrate the digital security platform of San Francisco-based Identify3D into its workflow. The partnership is an effort to protect intellectual property (IP) in additive manufacturing.
CTO of SLM Solutions Dr. Gereon Heinemann, said, “SLM Solutions recognizes the trend as additive transforms manufacturing into a digital workflow.”
“By working together with Identify3D, we aim to offer users not only robust manufacturing systems, but a strategy to integrate both security and traceability which are essential elements to production manufacturing processes.”
Intellectual property in 3D printing
As the applications of 3D printing has widened, protection of intellectual property has become a greater concern. This issue is also among the reasons some companies develop in-house prototyping facilities. Recently, the UK Intellectual Property Office participated in the IP in 3D printing debate.
Founded in 2014, Identify3D aims to protect IP in 3D printing by encrypting the digital supply chain. The company is partners with several leading enterprises including 3YOURMIND, Renishaw, Siemens, and America Makes.
Identify3D’s security platform protects digital files in a three-step process. With the help of Identify3D’s digital security platform AM companies can encrypt their original 3D files with design and manufacturing rules. Such parameters include constraints on machine and materials to be used, and printing speed and temperature.
After finalizing the part, the 3D model is moved to a secure database until an order is placed through the Identify3D Manager. Finally, Identify3D Enforce ensures that the design and production rules that were set in the first step are imposed.
By integrating Identify3D in its digital chain, SLM Solutions will be able to create a traceable digital thread. Products designed and manufactured within the SLM workspace will be protected and managed by the Identify3D security workflow.
Stephan Thomas, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, said, “Identify3D software integrates into users’ current workflows but offers a new level of process security.”
Thomas continued, “Manufacturers can implement different strategies to limit the number of times a part can be printed, set an expiration date on the design and automatically delete files from machines after a build. Validity checks allow an audit of their design throughout the selective laser melting process.”
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Featured image shows a graphic representation of Identify3D. Image via Identify3D.