An Innovate UK-backed start-up is to launch a groundbreaking digital marketplace for manufacturers to sell 3D-printable car parts.
Autentica Car Parts, based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, has developed a platform that allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as car designers and manufacturers, to sell spare parts designs to authorised dealers, distributors and repair centres.
The first-of-its-kind solution enables non-fungible-token-backed, blockchain-protected and -certified design assets to be 3D printed on-demand locally.
The Autentica platform will help design owners and OEMs sell spare parts using non fungible tokens (NFTs) to certify that a buyer is purchasing a genuine replacement part produced on demand using a local 3D-printing service.
NFTs further help prevent IP infringement and deal with liability issues, enabling OEMs control over 3D-printing service providers by streaming G-CODE tokens instead of 3D-model files.
Using funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, the platform has been successfully tested with 500 customers, including OEMs and car dealers, and an international network of 600 3D-printing service providers.
The platform, which was developed in partnership with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and cloud technology company Oracle, enables instant access to car spare parts, compared to the industry standard of 28 days, reduces non-production costs such as storage by 70 per cent and slashes the carbon footprint of transportation by 40 per cent.
The platform will be launched at a special full-day event at Sci-Tech Daresbury on 1 November that will featuring keynote speeches, presentations, roundtable discussions and live platform demonstrations.
Speaking ahead of the launch event, Irma Gilbert, CEO of Autentica Car Parts, said: ‘The aftermarket in the automotive spare parts supply chain globally is facing several perennial challenges, such as costly warehouse storage of spare parts; high logistics costs due to time-intensive production and shipping; and low-risk resilience due to cross-border transport, which can affect delivery times significantly.
‘Digital technologies are catalysts in delivering a radical transformation to global supply chains by leveraging, among others, the power of automation, analytics and intelligence to improve efficiency, visibility, sustainability and resilience,’ she continued. ‘Over the last two years, with the backing of Innovate UK and partners including AMRC and Oracle, we have developed a web platform that combines three major digital technologies – additive manufacturing, distributed ledger and artificial intelligence – to help revolutionise the aftermarket and automotive spare parts supply chain. I am delighted that we can launch our business model in the UK and then into international markets, bringing a transformative economic and environmental impact.’
At the launch event, attendees will be given a glimpse into the future of additive manufacturing and intellectual property protection. Key stakeholders, including the AMRC and Oracle, will deliver presentations that shed light on the evolution of 3D printing in manufacturing and showcasing the secure supply chain model empowered by blockchain technology.
The keynote address at the event will be delivered by James Bedford, digital tech cluster manager for the Science and Technology Facilities Council, a UK Research and Innovation initiative that operates a number of world-class research and innovation facilities, including at Sci-Tech Daresbury.
‘Autentica Car Parts is a fantastic example of how innovative young companies can potentially disrupt major industries,’ Bedford said. ‘The team has worked tirelessly to solve issues in the automotive sector by thinking outside the box to deliver a secure, inventive tech solution. I am proud to have Autentica Car Parts as part of the digital tech cluster and look forward to the launch event on 1 November. I’m sure attendees will be impressed by the company’s vision and the product’s demonstrations.’
‘Our Click to Print system is central to our commitment to digital thread management, efficiently overseeing 3D-printed parts, ensuring precision and reliability,’ Gilbert said. ‘Furthermore, our innovative use of blockchain-based cloud infrastructure to create a digital inventory is visionary in an era of data-security concerns. This infrastructure accelerates the qualification of additive manufacturing processes, materials and quality-control measures, providing numerous opportunities for IP protection, ranging from patents to trade secrets.’
Autentica’s model extends to the aerospace, defence and pharmaceutical-manufacturing industries, granting them access to and licensing of digital data rights. This approach empowers businesses to enhance cost-efficiency and streamline maintenance through additive manufacturing.