May 3, 2018 | By David

As manufacturing technology becomes increasingly digitized, new solutions are emerging for companies to keep track of their supply chains. A system recently developed by flight control systems company Moog should enable greater transparency in the sharing of data, with benefits in terms of safety and efficiency. The company’s new VeriPart system uses blockchain technology to digitally manage supply chains, and it is being adapted and demonstrated for use with 3D printed parts in collaboration with ST Aerospace and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS).

Supply chain management in digital manufacturing is important for carrying out secure digital transactions and creating binding contracts in an efficient way, as well as verifying the quality of manufactured parts through proper establishment of qualification and certification standards.

This quality control is particularly crucial in fields such as nuclear energy or aerospace, where the use of a part that isn’t up to standards can have serious negative consequences. After a recent fatal Southwest Airlines crash, it was revealed that some airlines do not keep track of the history of each individual fan blade within the engines of the aircraft they operate.

ST Aerospace is the aerospace division of Singapore Technologies. The company has been using 3D printing technology to fabricate components, and recently it collaborated with Moog to show how 3D printed aerospace parts can be verified and tracked more effectively using the VeriPart system.

ST Aerospace purchased a digital design from Moog and then 3D printed the part at its manufacturing facility in Singapore. As part of the transaction, the settlement was instantaneously completed via a smart contract using blockchain technology. Processing of the transaction was carried out through the VeriPart system, which is enabled by the Azure blockchain developed by Microsoft.

Together with ST Aerospace and the NCMS, Moog will leverage its VeriPart system to develop additive manufacturing technology with integrated digital transaction capabilities. This should bring about greater efficiency and security in aftermarket services for 3D printed parts, which will optimize supply chain improvements within both military and commercial aerospace markets, while consistently meeting trade compliance regulations.

"The supply chain of the future will be built on a strong collaborative foundation of likeminded companies," said George Small, Chief Technology Officer at Moog. "Our combined efforts will lay the groundwork for the redesign of global supply chains, creating new possibilities for our customers in the aerospace market and beyond."

(images: Moog)

To further test and improve its integration of VeriPart with 3D printing systems, Moog also signed a 18-month contract with the NCMS. The NCMS will manage the project while simultaneously using it to enhance the Department of Defense’s (DoD) knowledge of blockchain technology.

"Creating a point of use, time of need smart digital supply chain will reduce warfighter logistics tails, and empower maintenance and logistics organizations to improve readiness and lethality, VeriPart will give the DoD the tools to maintain a competitive edge in Industry 4.0," said James Regenor, Business Unit Director, Transformative Technologies at Moog.

Other collaborators on this project are Identify3D, Guardtime Federal, and Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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