Weeding Out Fake Parts: the Dark Horse of Killer 3D Printing Apps
One possible killer app that has nonetheless fallen relatively under-the-radar is comprehensive traceability of parts. Last week, for example, a Bloomberg article provided an update on a story from late August, about the discovery of years worth of phony certification documents for subpar spare parts. The spares were distributed by a small, obscure supplier of aerospace components based in London, AOG Technics Ltd. The discovery has inflicted chaos on the world’s largest aerospace companies, including Airbus, Boeing, and Safran, as they scramble for ways to undo the damage.
Whatever short-term solutions the aerospace giants may stumble upon, the only long-term solution may be comprehensive digitalization of supply chains. In addition to the fact that additive manufacturing (AM) technologies are uniquely suited to achieve that objective, the feasibility of an approach based on digitalization is suggested by the corporate players involved. Over the last decade or so, the aerospace sector’s largest companies (the ‘primes’) have achieved — and indeed, to a great extent have helped innovate into existence — some of the highest AM competencies in the world.