General Electric (GE) Seeks to Validate 3D Printed Parts with Blockchain Technology
General Electric is a global digital industrial company, and they are seeing the benefits of blockchain for their own use. Most recently, they filed for a patent that involved developing 3D-printed parts that they want to use blockchain to verify.
This request was published on June 21st, though it was submitted back in December originally. Within the application, GE describes a method that would allow them to validate their 3D printing technique, preventing other companies from replicating it without being exposed as a cheap imitation. The blockchain could track the manufacturing numbers as a record of each piece that GE creates.
By using this ingestion, it would help solve a major problem in additive manufacturing companies. Most of these businesses “lack verification and validation systems for ensuring that objects produced by the process are appropriately certified,” which is cited in the application for the patent. With this problem in mind, anyone that has a 3D printer could develop the replacement part. That action creates a major problem, because the eventual user of that part cannot verify whether it came from GE or not.
The application notes that there is no way, without blockchain, that the end user can validate whether the product came from GE or not. Furthermore, there is no way to see if the piece:
“was produced using a correct build file, using correct manufacturing media, and on a properly configured additive manufacturing device.”
The application continues:
“It would therefore be desirable to provide systems and methods for implementing a historical data record of an additive manufacturing process with verification and validation capabilities that may be integrated into additive manufacturing devices.”
Using blockchain for this type of tracking information is just another way that the technology is reaching other parts of the industrial sector of the economy. In the last year, there were five patent applications that showed different ways that companies want to use blockchain for their manufacturing.
In March, GE showed their commitment and interest in blockchain by joining Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). This association works to develop the standards that blockchain will need to meet within the cargo transport field.