Businesses are excited by 3D printing potential, but relaxed about risks
New research from law firm DMH Stallard has found that although a lot of companies are enthused about the potentials of 3D printing, they don’t yet see it as a threat to their intellectual property despite the fact that 3D printing can make counterfeiting goods easier.
In acquiring the data, DMH Stallard spoke to companies across many sectors which use additive manufacturing for prototypes and finished parts, plus software for 3D printing, design protection, and data logistics.
The research found that the major motivations for companies to use 3D printing fell into four main categories:
- Supply chain disruption: It allows companies to take back control of their supply chain by producing their own parts.
- Mass customisation: Being able to customise products without the need for expensive and dedicated tools.
- Reverse engineering: Not only does 3D printing allow the design and creation of customised products, it allows models to be created from products.
- Making the impossible possible: It allows the creation of products that other manufacturing methods would not have allowed.
Robert Ganpatsingh, Partner at DMH Stallard and one of the researchers, said: “Of the companies we spoke to, who all operated in a business-to-business environment, the majority believed that their IP would be safe if sensible precautions were taken to protect it. Although they did acknowledge that there was more danger to them at the bespoke end of the scale, where very small numbers of highly customised products are made.
“While this attitude may not cost them today, as 3D printing improves, so does the ability of counterfeiters to rip off IP which is hugely valuable to organisations. Companies need to take steps now to ensure that they are protected in the future as the technology develops.
“One of the most attractive things about 3D printing is that manufacturing businesses need only move data to the printer to enable local manufacturing. But this means whoever has that data has the keys to the castle. The UK develops innovative products that are the result of huge investments in research and development. Organisations need to protect their investment by making it as difficult as possible for counterfeiters to copy their products.”
The research report can be downloaded here.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.