Blockchain and 3D Printing Are Reinventing Aerospace Supply Chains


bitbond bitcoin lending

Blockchain, like many other emerging technologies, is enthusiastically touted as a solution to many of the world’s problems. Perhaps because of its relation to cryptocurrency or the narrative prophecies that surround them both, blockchain draws both criticism and praise from a staggering array of sectors.

However, with the big blockchain push from Chinese President Xi Jinping along with many tech, finance and industry giants piloting blockchain implementation, the number of use cases grows with each passing day. While cryptocurrency more often draws ire from the mainstream financial world, it seems that for blockchain, the sky’s the limit — but not for long.

A combination of blockchain and 3D printing for aircraft parts may launch the technology into the stratosphere. Cointelegraph spoke to major players in aerospace, including Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader about blockchain’s vast potential to impact global business through 3D printing.

Moog Inc. trials blockchain

Man first took to the skies in 1903. Orville Wright, poised at the controls of what now seems a laughably simple aircraft, changed the path of humanity’s progression forever. From that bumpy, unceremonious take-off in a North Carolina field grew a titanic industry that would support humanity’s desire to test the limits of creativity.

In 2019, up to 20,000 planes are in the sky at any one time, and the process of building up and maintaining such a gargantuan fleet of aircraft has been a complex and intricate process. Innovations that improve the performance of planes are widely publicized and play an important role in the profitability of aircraft producers. The market is increasingly crowded and companies are racing to develop breakthroughs before their competitors. Despite this, the industry that has grown around the maintenance of the parts that make up an aircraft remains needlessly complex and stuck in the past.

Based in New York state, aircraft parts manufacturer Moog Inc. is trialing a combination of blockchain and 3D printing that could give a creaking industry the rejuvenation it badly needs. As it stands, aircraft parts undergo a long, expensive and time-consuming journey along a complex supply chain. Rightly subject to strict regulation, with all involved companies requiring certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, the process from design to delivery is slow and can take weeks at a time.

Related: Blockchain Adoption Takes Off in Airlines, Aviation Industry

Moog’s solution to streamline production comes in the form of digital blueprints for aircraft components stored in a distributed ledger and printed by a 3D printer. Through the ambitious project, part orders could be completed in a few hours as opposed to a few weeks. If the trial proves successful, product designs will be ready to go on a blockchain and printed on demand, as opposed to mass-produced and shipped from distant locations when needed.

Like many blockchain projects, the goal is to decentralize industries, speed them up, and increase their security. Rather than a linear path from manufacturer to airport, an order from Air New Zealand, for example, took place via a global network of companies. As part of a pilot test, the airline company placed an order for an in-seat screen on one of their Boeing 777-300s while the flight was mid-way between Auckland and its Los Angeles destination.

The airline team in New Zealand ordered the digital blueprint from Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. Through Moog’s own Microsoft Azure cloud-hosted blockchain, the order was validated and printed by a 3D printer in Los Angeles. By the time the aircraft touched down in L.A., the part was ready to be installed on-site.

Honeywell also enters the parts trade

Moog is not the only actor in the aerospace sector experimenting with blockchain solutions. Honeywell, another prominent player in aerospace, launched their blockchain platform, GoDirect Trade, last year.

Sathish Muthukrishnan, chief digital and information officer at Honeywell Aerospace, told Cointelegraph that the platform aims to make it easier for airlines, air transport and business aviation customers to access new and used aircraft parts. GoDirect Trade is Honeywell’s in-house solution to the supply chain issues that impede the aerospace industry. Muthukrishnan explained:

“On GoDirect Trade, Honeywell is using blockchain technology to ensure every listing includes images and quality documents for the exact part being offered for sale, giving the buyer confidence about purchasing the part. In addition, every part on GoDirect Trade is immediately available for sale and shipping.”

According to Muthukrishnan, blockchain can not only be used to help supply new parts after a piece has broken or worn out, but also to crack down on poor quality or counterfeit parts entering the market:

“We are working to create a digital engine log book that would revolutionize the way maintenance on an aircraft engine is tracked. We are also nearing the launch of a new partnership that would leverage our blockchain to greatly reduce the possibility of counterfeit aircraft parts hitting the open market. It is worth noting that blockchain can improve traceability throughout the entire value stream of making a certified part, not just the 3D-printing aspect.”

For Muthukrishnan, the cumulative efforts to implement the technology at Honeywell are an attempt to engineer a greater connection between 3D printing and blockchain:

“We see all our efforts in blockchain to date as building blocks to connect blockchain to 3D printing and additive manufacturing. While we can’t go into specifics into how we’re doing this right now, we believe there is strong potential for both Honeywell and the aerospace industry in connecting additive manufacturing and blockchain. The aerospace industry has the potential to benefit from a combination of 3D-printed parts and blockchain technology.”

Ernst & Young Global blockchain lead passionate about 3D printing

For many, the fate of blockchain and crypto are intertwined. With critics fiercely divided over both technologies as a whole, it’s hard to keep track of how far along development and adoption has progressed, if at all. But a milestone development in the last 18 months has been the increased interest and experimentation from institutional entities.

The foray into the sphere by industry giants is not limited to stablecoins and over-the-counter trading. Paul Brody, Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader, confessed to Cointelegraph that 3D printing is a personal passion of his.

Brody has both worked on a number of key reports and given speeches on the topic. In a conversation with Cointelegraph, he said that he believes there are a number of actionable use cases for the technology regarding 3D printing and intellectual property rights:

“Early on there was some misconception that blockchain could be used to protect IP, and that’s not quite correct. Blockchain is a great tool for distributing, managing, and paying (or being paid) for sharing IP, but it’s not an anti-piracy tool. The way I have to see 3D printing is that it is the manufacturing equivalent of general purpose computing. In the world of General Purpose Computing, any computer can pretty much do most tasks (like the cloud). With 3D printing, we are gradually getting towards something that looks like a manufacturing cloud — and a distributed one.”

For Brody, the massive leaps that humanity made during the industrial revolution are a useful example to learn from when assessing realistic expectations for emerging technology in the modern world. For example, Brody outlined that great industrial breakthroughs like the steam engine needed information technology to scale. The rail and telegraph systems are another perfect combination. He added:

“3D printers will enable distributed manufacturing, and in principle, I believe distributed computing will go hand in hand with that for scaling. From designs to manufacturing to payment, 3D printers are likely to become smart, connected devices in IoT networks. I think you will be able to purchase designs, raw materials, and printing capacity through blockchains and then access networks of distributed manufacturing systems, as one example.”

It’s no secret that blockchain is subject to criticism, as any emerging technology rightly should be. Aside from scalability and the huge amount of energy required to power the technology, perhaps the most important concern is the cost of its implementation.

Brody outlined his view to Cointelegraph that while the cost may seem prohibitive to businesses at present, the fact that most 3D printers are already equipped with the smart technology necessary to connect to blockchains means that over time, the associated financial burden will shrink and decentralized networks will grow:

“In aggregate, blockchain-based systems are likely to be cheaper than centralized systems in the long-run as smart devices do more to manage themselves and depend less on centralized servers. The stage is still a ways off because the overall blockchain infrastructure is still not very mature, but given that most 3D printers are already smart devices, connecting them to blockchains will not be too hard.”

Although EY and a number of other industry leaders are actively exploring blockchain, Brody admits that, as of yet, there is no overwhelming demand to combine blockchain and 3D printing. Nonetheless, Brody thinks that “we’re getting very close on the public blockchain side to the point where adding blockchain interactions to 3D printing systems is easy enough that it can start to scale.”

For Brody, 3D printing is something that has the power to empower business and diversify industry. Having worked on a number of detailed reports for both IBM and EY on 3D printing, Brody emphasized that a new swathe of businesses are only a short while away from being able to implement the technology — a move which could drastically change the economic environment:

“I believe that 3D printing, as it matures, will have a tremendous impact on industries.”


Leave a Reply

Notify of

You may also like


Millennials Prefer Bitcoin to Alibaba, Netflix Stock as GBTC Hits $10K


bitbond bitcoin lending

Millennials prefer to hold Bitcoin (BTC) equity than invest in some of the world’s best-known companies, surprising new data reveals. 

In a report originally released in November, Charles Schwab, one of the United States’ biggest brokerage firms, shed new light on the increasingly pro-Bitcoin stance of Millennials compared to previous generations. 

GBTC makes inroads at Charles Schwab

1.84% of assets held as equity with Schwab are for the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), a Bitcoin investment vehicle that saw record participation in 2019. 

This is more than equity Millennials held in Berkshire Hathaway, Netflix, Disney Corp., and even Microsoft and Alibaba.

By contrast, Grayscale did not figure in the top choices of Generation X and Baby Boomer investors. Apple constituted the most popular overall equity holding across all three cohorts.

Reacting to Grayscale, Whittemore crypto marketing firm founder, Nathaniel Whittemore, described the…

View More Article

French Pro Soccer Team Paris Saint-Germain Launches Fan Token


bitbond bitcoin lending

The fan token of top-tier soccer team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is now available for sale on the blockchain platform Socios, the team announced in a tweet on Jan. 28. 

As one of the first uses of the $PSG Fan Token, holders will vote on an inspirational message to be printed on the armband of the captain — Thiago Silva — when the team takes the pitch. 

According to a tandem announcement from Socios, the PSG fan token offering, or FTO, is now open on its website. Socios also offered an AR token hunt game for its native Chiliz $CHZ tokens which, once found, could subsequently be used to buy PSG’s fan token. 

Fan tokens enable supporters of the team to vote in a number of binding and non-binding cosmetic decisions (choosing the club’s jersey color, stadium…

View More Article

Crypto Payments on Darknet Markets Doubled for First Time Since 2015


bitbond bitcoin lending

The volume of cryptocurrency flows coming on darknet markets have doubled for the first time in four years, a new study says.

In part of its 2020 Crypto Crime Report published on Jan. 28, Chainalysis — a New York-based blockchain analytics firm — found that darknet markets have significantly increased their share of total incoming crypto transactions in 2019, doubling from 0.04% in 2018 to 0.08%. 

Crypto on darknets is resilient to scrutiny by law enforcement

According to the study, total market sales in crypto grew 70% in 2019 to account for more than $790 million worth of cryptocurrency after seeing a small decline in 2018. This was the first time when sales surpassed $600 million, Chainalysis says.

Despite the total share of crypto payments on the darknet remaining quite low, the recent growth of volumes indicates the resilience of darknet markets to increased…

View More Article

A Month After Launch, Bakkt Bitcoin Options Volumes Are Lackluster


bitbond bitcoin lending

Little more than a month after their launch, Bitcoin (BTC) options contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange’s digital asset platform Bakkt appear to have seen sluggish uptake.

The latest available reports for the contract, Jan. 24 and Jan. 27, reveal that 11 days have elapsed since the last trade.

Traders bide their time

As reported, Bakkt launched its new BTC options contract in early December, shortly after rolling out a cash-settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures offering in November. 

Options are derivatives that are designed  to provide traders with additional flexibility hedge against an asset’s price swings in either direction: thus an options contract offers them the chance to purchase either a right to buy (a call option) or sell (a put option) the given asset at a specified “strike price” determined on or before the contract’s expiration date.

Both the new options contract and cash-settled…

View More Article

Largest Japanese Consulting Firm to Launch New Cryptocurrency Index


bitbond bitcoin lending

Leading Japanese consulting firm Nomura Research Institute (NRI) partnered with cryptocurrency investment solution provider Intelligence Unit (IU) to launch a tradable cryptocurrency index.

According to a press release published on Jan. 29, the new index’s name is NRI/IO Crypto-Asset Index and it is meant for use by financial institutions. The index also draws data from crypto index platform MVIS and major cryptocurrency data platform CryptoCompare.

The dedicated website explains that the index is meant to cover global crypto markets in U.S. dollars and Japanese yen by tracking the largest cryptocurrencies. The index was designed for Japanese institutional investors with consideration for local availability and custody solutions.

A tradable index tracking five top cryptos

The NRI/IO Crypto-Asset Index is rebalanced monthly and tracks the performance of a pre-defined basket of crypto assets and will be tradable in dollars…

View More Article

City of Zermatt Switzerland Now Accepts Tax Payments in Bitcoin


bitbond bitcoin lending

The municipality of Zermatt, Switzerland — home to the iconic Matterhorn — is now the second location in Switzerland where taxpayers are officially allowed to pay their taxes in Bitcoin (BTC).

In order to unlock the new tax payment option, the authorities of the Zermatt have partnered with Switzerland’s major crypto financial services company Bitcoin Suisse.

Bitcoin Suisse to convert Bitcoin into Swiss francs 

According to an announcement by Bitcoin Suisse, Zermatt started accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment for local taxes and transactions on Jan. 28, 2020.

By partnering with Bitcoin Suisse, the authorities of Zermatt are now able to convert taxpayers’ Bitcoin into Swiss francs through Bitcoin Suisse which then transfers the amount in fiat currency to the municipality’s bank account.

Taxpayers are able to pay online or via Bitcoin Suisse’s point-of-sale device

Specifically, local taxpayers will be able to pay…

View More Article

Swiss Firm Poised to Launch Compliant IPO on Ethereum Blockchain


bitbond bitcoin lending

Swiss regulators have given the go-ahead for what is purportedly the country’s first fully compliant initial public offering (IPO) on a blockchain.

Swiss blockchain firm Overture will launch a compliant IPO and offer ordinary class-A shares natively on the Ethereum blockchain, using smart contracts provided by Zug-based EURO DAXX (the European Digital Assets Exchange), a Jan. 29 press release reveals.

A blockchain-native approach to securities offerings

Overture and its financial advisory firm, Andriotto Financial Services, said that the new venture is set apart from other security offerings in that:

“The company has approved the first Swiss articles of incorporation that directly states the digital nature of the shares (tokens) and the use of the blockchain as the technology to keep the shareholders registry […] transfer of the company ownership can be achieved only with a transfer of the tokens on the blockchain…

View More Article

Bitcoin’s Best Q1 Since 2013 to ‘Escalate’ If $9.5K Is Broken: Trader


bitbond bitcoin lending

Bitcoin (BTC) investors have already made more on their holdings this quarter than any Q1 since 2014, as data shows a sustained influx of institutional interest.

According to findings from statistics resource Skew Markets, Bitcoin’s gains so far in 2020 amount to just under 30%. In no other quarter in the past six years did markets perform that strongly. 

2020 thrashes downbeat Q1 trend

By contrast, Q1 tends to be an underwhelming period for Bitcoiners. 2014 saw 39% losses, while 2015 and 2016 saw BTC/USD drop by 24% and 3% respectively.

Only 2017 and 2019 managed to produce positive moves, but at around 11%, neither comes close to this year. 2011 and 2013 were the years Q1 returns were strongest, at 165% and 570%, according to Bitinfocharts’ price index.

Bitcoin quarterly returns

Bitcoin quarterly returns. Source:…

View More Article