Materialise has acquired Identify3D, a company that develops software to encrypt, distribute and trace the flow of digital parts across complex supply chains. Data security and integrity have become top of mind for companies that want to retain control over their design and production data, as they transition from a centralized production model to multiple digital production sites, closer to their customers. The acquisition of Identify3D makes Materialise’s CO-AM platform the most secure platform for distributed manufacturing.
The Identify3D product suite encrypts, distributes and traces the flow of digital parts, preventing counterfeits and ensuring that maliciously or inadvertently modified, substandard or uncertified parts cannot enter the physical supply chain. It also allows designers and manufacturing engineers to couple designs with specific production criteria, such as a designated user, a type of machine or material to control the production process and to meet the original manufacturing specifications.
The Materialise CO-AM software platform gives manufacturers cloud-based access to a full range of software tools that allow them to plan, manage and optimize every step of the 3D printing process. The acquisition of Identify3D allows Materialise to add an additional security layer to CO-AM, making it the most robust and secure software platform for manufacturers that are looking to scale up their 3D printing operations as part of a digital and distributed production environment.
Shift to distributed manufacturing
“We believe that the factory of the future will not be a single, central location”, says Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise. “Instead, future manufacturing, enabled by smart technologies like 3D printing, will take place at multiple digital production sites, distributed around the world, closer to customers. But this will only be possible when companies are sure that their design and production data remains secure. This acquisition allows manufacturers to secure the flow of digital parts and maintain a competitive advantage.”
The traditional, centralized production model has proven vulnerable to systemic shocks, including global supply chain issues, geo-political tensions and growing sustainability concerns. Smart, digital technologies like 3D printing enable a shift towards multiple smaller-scale manufacturing sites closer to customers. But for companies that want to protect their unique designs, sharing design files and digital assets among industrial companies and suppliers opens up new conversations about data security.
At the same time, manufacturers that plan to scale up the production of a 3D printed part into the thousands or millions want to ensure that all their components have the same quality, irrespective of where they are produced. As a result, data integrity too has become top of mind for companies that embrace digital manufacturing.
With this acquisition, Materialise addresses customer concerns about data security and integrity and makes CO-AM the most secure software platform for distributed manufacturing.
Secure software platform for digital manufacturing
The Materialise CO-AM software platform builds on more than three decades of 3D printing experience and helps companies manage their 3D printing processes more efficiently. It offers cloud-based access to multiple hardware technologies and their preferred tools from Materialise and other software developers. At the heart of the CO-AM platform is a data lake that connects to all production tools and keeps track of what is happening on the production floor. Moving forward, CO-AM will offer the most robust and secure software platform to manufacturers that are concerned about protecting their design data, such as prototypes, and their unique production expertise.
“At the center of a digital supply chain is the movement of valuable data from design through manufacturing”, says Joe Inkenbrandt, Co-Founder and CEO of Identify3D. “Our mission has always been to address the security and integrity of that data. Integrating our software in the Materialise CO-AM platform allows us to fully unlock its potential and give customers security and control of their data in a way never seen before in the industry.”