3D Printing: IEEE Standards to Address Counterfeiting

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3D printing technologies are emerging at a rapid pace, with the research firm Canalys forecasting that the 3D printing market, which includes 3D printer sales, materials and associated services, will reach US $16.2 billion by 2018

Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Shepherd points out, “The 3D printing market has enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed. Advances in technology are yielding faster print times and enabling objects to be printed in greater combinations of materials, colors and finishes.”

In fact, 3D printing technology is already well established in the production of prototypes and product models in quite a few industries, and analysts see it becoming a viable manufacturing tool for a number of industry sectors, including aerospace and defense, medical, engineering and architecture. However, one concern coming to light is how to prevent 3D counterfeiting, when the very nature of the technology is based on making 3D print jobs uniform and replicated with 100% accuracy across a wide range of printers.

In a recently published ECN article, Dr. Yu Yuan, Standards Chair of The IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, discusses possible 3D counterfeiting techniques and scenario, and provides an overview of standardization efforts underway that can help build industry consensus on how best to advance and secure the technology, preventing the production of inferior parts that could impact safety and/or encroachment on individual property rights.