The use of the blockchain in recent years has been largely associated with the fintech and cryptocurrencies. However, such technologies are full of potential for integration in other sectors as well.
Klaipeda Science and Technology Park together with its partners explored and evaluated application of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) possibilities in the manufacturing business. Innovative approach may transform processes fundamentally. Both the business model and technical specification for the development and implementation of the DLT-based solution have already been prepared.
Broad consortium in action
Digitalization, which has already led to huge changes in production, also brings new perspectives in the management of various processes. "These tendencies are clearly seen by our business partners from Klaipeda Free Economic Zone, and also technology experts and developers, representing “Omega Technology" and "cloudyBoss". Our consortium seeks to be at the forefront of major changes. We have a big trust that the use of DLT technology would give positive impact for the manufacturing business, creating virtual supply chains, enabling companies to purchase services and necessary resources globally”, - says Andrius Sutnikas, Development Manager at Klaipėda Science and Technology Park (KSTP).
There is no coincidence that 3D printing appeared in the spotlight of the DLT experts - both technologies go hand in hand with the AI, IoT, AR, Big Data, robotics and automation solutions that transform and production and logistics processes all around the world.
Platform for competencies and resources
Manufacturing businesses face a variety of challenges so far when it comes to printing certain objects using 3D technology or when companies need to provide specific details for their customers which probably are based in the other part of the world. In the long run, companies need to consider investing in expensive technologies and deploy them next to their production bases. Other option is looking for subcontractors, but it is also time consuming, and the logistics of the printed parts often prove to be complicated and expensive.
DLT technology can be used implementing Factory-as-a-Service and Machine-as-a-Service business models. The execution and management of production processes would become decentralized, creating certain ecosystems composed of independent but closely and purposefully interacting actors.
"The innovative platform would bring together competencies and resources on a global scale. It would be able to provide all the important aspects related with 3D printing: from engineering or design – to testing the materials needed for 3D printing", - A. Sutnikas said.
Companies could purchase 3D printing services according to their needs, choosing the particular location, considering most convenient logistic routes. Special supervision for the 3D printing process would become unnecessary - service providers would ensure that the final product fully represents drawings or specifications submitted by the client. DLT-based solution would be very useful in optimizing design, testing and production processes and shortening the route of printed parts from the manufacturer to the customer.
FEZs may become flagships
Innovative model might be very perspective for the integration in the free economic zones (FEZ) as there are many manufacturing plants operating in these particular areas. By being able to offer a 3D printing service to their local customers, as well as for the manufacturing businesses operating anywhere in the world, FEZs could gain extra competitive advantage, helping the entrepreneurs to reduce their production costs and avoid a variety of risks.
The business model and technical specification (SRS) for the enabling of the DLT technology-based solution Industry 4.5 were developed within the framework of the international project INforM. The next development stage will involve working with potential investors in order to continue with the design, programming and testing this DLT-based solution in real conditions.
Klaipeda Science and Technology Park is responsible for the content of the article. Under no circumstances can it be considered to reflect the views of the EU.