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Protection and monetization of 3D printed objects in the spare parts business of Daimler Buses

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Bus operators depend on their vehicles, and any spare parts they need have to be available as quickly as possible. Up to now, this meant massive local stocks or complex on-demand logistics, but now digitalization is hailing in a new age. The owners and operators of Mercedes Benz and Setra busses can now produce the parts themselves with 3D printing. All they need for these mini-factories are a certified 3D printer and the licenses for the parts they want to print. Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter provides the technological basis for a secure digital process chain with full control over how many parts can be and are printed on the ground.

Additive manufacturing was long considered a technology for nerds or select specialists. There were too many technical challenges still to be overcome, and the cost of 3D printed parts was far too high compared to conventional manufacturing. But times have changed, and many of these problems have been solved. New service concepts are being introduced and are already creating new global, digital markets. Our webinar introduces the solution thought up by Daimler Buses in partnership with the 3D printer specialists Farsoon Technology and the CodeMeter security technology of Wibu-Systems. The system solves two essential problems: The protection of the digital object data and the monetization of the entire process with a reliable license management system.

The challenge is to be able to produce parts wherever and whenever they are needed. This promises a new field for service providers to get active in, offering 3D printing services for their clients. However, when the parts are processed and printed by a third party, there need to be systems in place to protect the intellectual property involved and to make the entire value chain correctly traceable and, crucially, billable. This is where Daimler Buses has found a solution with the potential to revolutionize the current conventional parts business. The system creates exciting new prospects for the service business and for the availability of spare parts, both economically and ecologically speaking.

Many parts and components are now available in digital format on the OMNIplus 3D printing license shop. Bus operators and service partners around the world can purchase these and produce them at their leisure and at the point of need. The parts are provided as encrypted downloads. As in any online store, the buyer adds the right items to their cart. At the checkout, the buyer then receives a preprinting license to prepare the print job with the Buildstar® software made by Farsoon Technologies and the actual printing license for the right number of parts. The licenses can then be used with the Makestar® software on Farsoon-certified 3D printers. Both protected and unprotected parts can be combined in one job to reduce the printing costs. Order processing is handled by the combination of CodeMeter License Central and the SAP system already in place at Daimler Buses. This setup means that not just the protection of the object data, but the entire order handling process could be automated with CodeMeter.

IP protection is essential, and not just in additive manufacturing. The fundamental concepts can be used and are already being implemented in many other sectors and professions. With it, digitalization is not just a great tool for optimization, but a door-opener for entirely new industrial business models.

The agenda in detail:

  • Motivation
  • Additive manufacturing in the spare parts business
    • Which opportunities are there?
    • Which roles are involved?
    • New prospects for service providers
    • The story of an AM part from CAD data to 3D printer
  • The technology behind the system
  • Using CodeMeter technology for protection and monetization
    • Encrypting object data
    • Preprinting and printing licenses
    • Modelling pay-per-use licenses
  • Back-office integration
    • Shop system
    • ERP system
  • Challenges
    • Distributing licenses online and offline
    • Service

3D printing and manufacturing-as-a-service have the potential to revolutionize not just the automotive parts business, but many sectors of industry. Join us for this webinar to discover how CodeMeter can be a crucial enabler for this new industrial age.