3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, Blockchain-Technology, Copyright Protection, License Management, Chain of Trust, Secure Element, RFID

Project Duration

November 11, 2016 - December 31, 2019 (38 months)

Funding Program

Digitale Technologien für die Wirtschaft (PAiCE);
Platforms | Additive Manufacturing | Imaging | Communication | Engineering - Ein Technologie-wettbewerb des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie

Project Coordinator

Dr. Martin Holland PROSTEP AG
Karl-Wiechert-Allee 72, 30625 Hannover
Tel.: + 49 511 540 580
E-Mail: martin.holland(at)prostep(dot)com

Project objective

The objective of the SAMPL project is the development of a comprehensive security solution - also known as a chain of trust - for additive production processes. The process starts with the generation of the digital 3D print data and the exchange of the data with a 3D print service provider. The 3D printers are protected by special Secure Elements and the secure additive manufacturing process is completed by the capability of identifying the printed components by means of an imprinted RFID chip. In addition to the currently available mechanisms for the encryption of 3D data a digital license management based on Blockchain technology will be integrated into the data exchange solution OpenDXM GlobalX of PROSTEP AG. The Industry 4.0 Standard OPC-UA will be used as an interface to exchange the certification and licensing data between the rights holder and the recipient.

Blockchain is so far mainly known from the financial world. It is a cryptographic process to demonstrate the authenticity of financial transactions in the digital payment market. A concrete Blockchain application is, for example, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, the Blockchain technology is also applicable to the representation of transactions in the sense of licensing. Here, instead of a bitcoin, a printer obtains the license to print a component.

The SAMPL consortium will implement the described technologies to help solve the urging challenges around ​​copyright protection in additive manufacturing. With SAMPL it will be possible to secure printings with license grants and to distinguish between original and counterfeit or illegitimate print based on the RFID components integrated into the printed objects. The aviation industry is a leader in the application of additive manufacturing, but the subject addressed by SAMPL is also interesting for other industries such as medical technology products. The project will therefore also have a positive impact on other industries, starting with the first use cases in aviation industry.

Due to the high degree of innovation and the strong economic relevance, the project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the Technology Program Framework PAiCE, which is an abbreviation of the terms "Platforms, Additive Manufacturing, Imaging, Communication and Engineering".