Boeing virtualizes, secures additive manufacturing across supply chain with Assembrix
Last year, Boeing contracted Norsk Titanium AS, a supplier of additive manufactured structural titanium components, to deliver FAA-approved structural components for installation on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (pictured here in partial Sinapore Airlines livery); Tel Aviv-based Assembrix will likely manage and protect intellectual property shared between these two compnaies (Image source: Boeing).
 

Boeing virtualizes, secures additive manufacturing across supply chain with Assembrix

Boeing officials in Chicago are collaborating with Tel Aviv-based Assembrix to manage and protect intellectual property (IP) shared with vendors across its global supply chain for additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, parts to support Boeing commercial aviation, space, and military platforms.
 
Assembrix's software is a cloud-based platform that virtualizes industrial 3D printing to enable simpler, secured, and more efficient production processes. The software will enable Boeing to transmit additive manufacturing design information using secure distribution methods to protect data from being intercepted, corrupted, or decrypted throughout the distribution and manufacturing processes.
 
Boeing uses additive manufacturing capabilities at 20 sites worldwide and partners with global suppliers to deliver 3D-printed parts for its commercial, space, and defense platforms. Boeing is currently leveraging and accelerating additive manufacturing to transform its production system and support the company's growth, using Assembrix software to secure its proprietary information across the supply chain.
 
"Boeing seeks suppliers globally who meet stringent quality, schedule, cost, and intellectual capital standards, and Assembrix does all that," says David Ivry, president of Boeing Israel. "This agreement expands Boeing's ties to Israeli industry while helping companies like Assembrix expand their business.”
 
Boeing previously teamed up with Swiss technology group Oerlikon to create powder bed additive manufacturing of structural titanium components for the aerospace industry with the goal of standardizing everything from initial powder management to finished product. Last year, Boeing also hired Norsk Titanium AS, a supplier of additive manufactured structural titanium components, to deliver FAA-approved structural components for installation on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
 
Boeing’s advances make protecting additive manufacturing productions and digitization of increasing importance as industrial 3D printing begins to take off. Despite the industry’s promise and potential, digital designs dictating the production of end-use 3D-printed objects have not yet moved fully into the mainstream, due to the high cost of large-scale mass production and limitations on information flow, which the military community calls the “digital thread.”
 
For additive manufacturing processes to scale at the industrial level, a single, seamless strand of data must stretch from the initial design concept to the finished part, constituting the information that enables the design, modeling, production, and monitoring of an individual manufactured part. The intense computing of this digital thread or data strand must be dissected and understood by the manufacturer to enhance and scale additive manufacturing and manage its complexities. If information remains siloed, the manufacturer can’t gain full visibility across the additive manufacturing process.
 
Assembrix will oversee the entire additive manufacturing thread from the initial part model to the verified physical part and beyond, enabling the allocation and monitoring of industrial 3D printers. The company’s efforts will likely lead Boeing to a fully automated and self-controlled process, increasing printer utilization and return on investment.
 
"We are pleased to partner with Boeing and value its confidence in us and in our capabilities," says Lior Polak, Assembrix CEO. "This collaboration supports our vision to develop and implement innovative solutions that connect the world and take the additive manufacturing digital thread one step forward."
 
The relationship between Boeing and Israel stretches back 70 years to the founding of the state of Israel. Since then, Boeing has worked closely with Israeli commercial and military customers and suppliers to develop lasting partnerships. Israeli industry supplies parts for many Boeing defense and commercial products, including the F-15, the AH-64D Apache Longbow, the next-generation Arrow 3 interceptor, and the 737, 777, and 787 airplanes.
 

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