Blockchain after Bitcoin: What impact can Blockchain have on the future of manufacturing?

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  Blockchain to Bitcoin: What impact can Blockchain have on the future of manufacturing?

By Jonathan Wilkins, Marketing Director, EU Automation

Cryptocurrencies shape the financial sector and make regular headlines on global news portals; and Blockchain is the technology that made everything possible. Blockchain is changing the financial industry, and there is potential to revolutionize other industries. This article explains how Blockchain can revolutionize manufacturing.

Blockchain technology allows Bitcoin owners to complete secure transactions without a bank playing the middleman. Bitcoin is just one of many cryptocurrencies that are changing how many people handle their finances. Now, other industries are realizing that Blockchain can make digital information transfers and manufacturers are seeing how this can help realize Industry 4.0.

The fourth industrial revolution takes digitization one step further and strengthens the connection between the digital and physical worlds. Blockchain can drive this connection, making it easier for people and machines to connect and understand each other.

Blockchain and Manufacturing

Blockchain is essentially a peer-to-peer recording system that can not be changed. It can reduce paperwork across the supply chain by allowing manufacturers to turn key documents, such as legal documents, that could be lost between exchanges, into simple automated files.

Each time a document is released, a block is appended to previous blocks to form an easily traceable chain. This improves supply chain traceability as everyone can see where the information went.

Supply chains can span multiple locations worldwide and have many stages, making it difficult to track all components and processes of product development, manufacturing and delivery. Blockchain can create a smarter and safer supply chain by providing a solid track that is visible in real time.

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A transparent, real-time supply chain system enables manufacturers to quickly identify and fix problems, whether it's a product or a security breach. This reduces the likelihood of expensive recalls.

Security

The security of data is critical in manufacturing, and unfortunately, cyber attacks are becoming a common threat.

Hackers can hide their presence in a system for a long time before they attack and without frequent updates. Anti-virus software can easily be tricked.

Blockchain could be the answer to this problem. Supply chain partners can verify the authenticity of products and processes at any time due to the easily visible chain of documents and processes. Blockchain is also constantly evolving. It is possible for someone to break into a block, but at the time they do it, several new blocks have been created.

Maintenance

Technology is advancing so fast that it can be difficult for plant managers to make sure they have the latest technology. It also poses a challenge to properly service the technology to this extent.

As machines become smarter, they can learn to self-diagnose and alert staff to problems that can lead to costly downtime. Blockchain can continue this and make machines more autonomous. Manufacturers can add a block chain between the ERP system in the plant and the supplier. Then the machines can autonomously place an order for their own spare parts before they break.

While Bitcoin keeps creating millionaires around the world, it's less defined where it fits into the future of manufacturing. However, Blockchain has the potential to help manufacturers, their suppliers, and their customers by simplifying and securing many processes in the supply chain. The blockchain outside the financial sector is still at an early stage, but it looks like the technology will stay here.

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