Sep 12, 2017 | By Tess

Chinese authorities have announced that 3D printing companies based in the city of Chongqing will now be required to register their business with local police. The registration process, which was initiated yesterday, is aimed at monitoring 3D printed output from companies with additive manufacturing capabilities in order to stop the public from obtaining dangerous 3D printed products.

According to a Chinese news source, Chongqing police believe that having a mandatory registration for 3D printing companies will help them to limit and prevent the creation of illegal 3D printed products as well as to control how digital blueprints and 3D models for dangerous objects are distributed and sold.

Chongqing, China

The initiative follows a common fear about 3D printing technologies: that the machines can be used to make unregistered weapons, or other illicit items, such as keys and safety bypass devices. Whether these fears are fully founded has been debated, but nations such as Australia and now China are taking measures to address 3D printed contraband.

In Chongqing, companies that use 3D printing technologies are now expected to register under a “special industry” initiative, which was first launched in 1985. The classification, which also includes the hotel, restaurant, bathhouse, and metal recycling industries, is aimed at areas of the Chinese economy that are more susceptible to criminal activity than others.

At this point, you may be asking yourself what the registration of 3D printing companies will actually entail, and you might be surprised at how in-depth the process is. For starters, companies will have to provide personal information about their management as well as any employee who has access to 3D printers and 3D models. They will also have to disclose security measures, as well as the 3D printers and 3D printing materials they are using.

The registration process in Chongqing is reportedly a trial run. If it goes well, 3D printing companies across China could be forced into the same type of state registration system. The initiative was presented as part of the “Welcome the 19th Party Congress: Loyally Defend Safety” series.

As 3D printing technologies become more accessible, the risk that they will be used for illicit purposes inevitably grows. And while the technology needed to produce actually dangerous weapons such as guns would require expensive and state-of-the-art 3D printing systems, authorities around the world are establishing regulatory measures for dealing with the perceived risk of 3D printing.

The Chongqing police, for their part, have said they are keeping close tabs on advancements within the 3D printing industry, and are adjusting their supervision measures and tactics accordingly.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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