A Case Study for Blockchain in Manufacturing: "FabRec": A Prototype for Peer-to-Peer Network of Manufacturing Nodes

04/03/2018 ∙ by Atin Angrish, et al. ∙ 0

With product customization an emerging business opportunity, organizations must find ways to collaborate and enable sharing of information in an inherently trustless network. In this paper, we propose - "FabRec": a decentralized approach to handle manufacturing information generated by various organizations using blockchain technology. We propose a system in which a decentralized network of manufacturing machines and computing nodes can enable automated transparency of an organization's capability, third party verification of such capability through a trail of past historic events and automated mechanisms to drive paperless contracts between participants using 'smart contracts'. Our system decentralizes critical information about the manufacturer and makes it available on a peer-to-peer network composed of fiduciary nodes to ensure transparency and data provenance through a verifiable audit trail. We present a testbed platform through a combination of manufacturing machines, system-on-chip platforms and computing nodes to demonstrate mechanisms through which a consortium of disparate organizations can communicate through a decentralized network. Our prototype testbed demonstrates the value of computer code residing on a decentralized network for verification of information on the blockchain and ways in which actions can be autonomously initiated in the physical world. This paper intends to expose system elements in preparation for much larger field tests through the working prototype and discusses the future potential of blockchain for manufacturing IT.

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