The IP protection and licensing pioneers of Wibu-Systems have teamed up with the global bus vendor Daimler Truck and the additive manufacturing specialists Farsoon Technologies to turn the automotive spare parts world upside down with a revolutionary 3D-printable parts service. The new OMNIplus online store lets the owners and operators of Daimler and Setra buses buy and print a vast selection of consumables, when and where they need them. With CodeMeter protecting the digital objects throughout the complete sales lifecycle, the novel service makes good on the Industry 4.0 promise of Manufacturing-as-a-Service.
Even with an efficient and organized parts service like the conventional OMNIplus operations, it takes time to order and dispatch automotive components. For commercial operators of buses and coaches, this can mean routes not serviced and revenue lost as their vehicles are sitting idle and waiting for much needed items. Daimler Buses decided to take out the middleman and let bus operators buy and make genuine, licensed parts themselves with an intelligent online store for 3D printable components. To do so, they turned to the industrial additive manufacturing professionals at Farsoon Technologies for the printing hardware and software and to the IP protection and licensing specialists Wibu-Systems to secure both the sensitive know-how contained in print designs and in the preprinting, printing, and billing process.
Bus operators can now go to the new OMNIplus 3D Printing License eshop and pick the items they need from an initial selection of 100 parts, which is destined to grow fast, as Daimler Buses has already identified around 40,000 potentially 3D printable parts from their back catalogue to add to the store. All the buyers need to get the physical product in their hands is either access to their nearest OMNIplus service partner to handle the process or simply a certified Farsoon Technologies printer to create their own mini-factory.
After they have made their purchase, they receive three digital items: The actual digital object data, encrypted with Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter® award-winning protection technology, and both a preprinting and a printing license. The former is needed to prepare the print job with the Buildstar® software of Farsoon Technologies, while the latter specifies exactly how many copies of the digital object they can manufacture with the Makestar® software on a certified Farsoon printer. The entire process happens under the watchful eye of CodeMeter, whose tough encryption algorithms ensure that the digital parts cannot be reverse-engineered or otherwise tampered with and whose smart tracking capabilities and integration with Daimler Buses’ SAP system guarantees that the users of the OMNIplus service can only make as many parts as they paid for and are only billed for what they really need.
The entire shopping and printing experience was deliberately designed to be as unobtrusive and natural as possible. Buying parts via the OMNIplus 3D Printing License shop feels like any online retail system, and the buyer will notice little of the cryptographic and license management operations taking place behind the scenes, while Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter License Central works as the license handler and arbiter in the background.
For Dr. Dirk Simon, Managing Director of Farsoon Europe, the success of the solution comes from the strong cooperation between the partners involved: “The many years of excellent cooperation between Evobus and Farsoon has really helped this complex project along. In Wibu-Systems, we have found a very good partner, and all three of us are very proud to have developed this solution in record time.”
Ralf Anderhofstadt, Head of Center of Competence Additive Manufacturing at Daimler Trucks and Buses added “The successful implementation of the revolutionary AM digital rights management system means that our partners and we have made a real mark in the digital 3D printing business. This opens up completely new vistas for our service operations and for the availability of products where they are needed at the point of sale, both commercially speaking and thinking about the good of our environment.”
The combined work of Daimler Buses, Wibu-Systems, and Farsoon Technologies has created a model implementation of the digital industry vision with all of its flexibility, agility, and ease of use. It shows its business enabling power not just for the OMNIplus service itself, but potentially also for a new generation of Manufacturing-as-a-Service providers who could begin offering the printing service on behalf of the buyers of 3D-printable products. With parts and components available anywhere in the world and around the clock and with complex and resource-intensive logistics removed from the equation, the system offers vast economic and ecological benefits.
Wibu-Systems, Farsoon Technologies, and Daimler Buses will showcase their joint solution at the additive manufacturing expo Formnext in Hall 11.1, at the D69J booth, from 15 to 18 November in Frankfurt, Germany.
Stefan Bamberg, Senior Key Account and Partner Manager at Wibu-Systems, is looking forward to showing how CodeMeter can help create new Industry 4.0 business models to a wider audience: “With CodeMeter in the picture, the crew behind the OMNIplus 3D printing service and their customers can rest assured that their IP is secure, the process is protected, and the parts are genuine and safe from manipulation, even if they are produced by the users themselves – a win-win outcome all around”.
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