Protection Measures against Product Piracy and Application by the Use of AM
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Presently the implications Additive Manufacturing (AM) on intellectual properties are discussed in public. Here AM is often mentioned as a driver for product piracy as it allows to produce and to copy objects with any geometries. Imitators need a lot of information to copy an object accurately. As reverse engineering has been identified as the most important information source for product imitators, AM can also help to reduce the threat of product piracy when correctly applied in the product development. Due to the layer wise production process that allows the manufacturing of very complex shapes and geometries, the reverse-engineering process can be complicated by far. By this, quite contrary to the public opinion, AM can increase the needed effort of imitators and strongly reduce the economic efficiency of product piracy. This paper will show different protection measures and a methodological approach of how to apply these measures to a product. Beside the protective effect some measures allow a traceability of parts over the product’s lifecycle and thus support the quality management of AM processes and additively produced parts.