Additive Manufacturing

Managing the Additive Manufacturing Supply Chain 252

Managing the Additive Manufacturing Supply Chain 252 provides an overview of significant ways traditional supply chain management differs with the use of additive manufacturing. The course introduces concepts of digital thread, digital twin, serialization, and blockchain technologies and explores how these methods may be used to effectively manage additive manufacturing supply chains.

After completing this course, users will have a better awareness of how serialization and blockchain can increase traceability, guard against counterfeits, and lead to greater security in the additive manufacturing supply chain.

  • Difficulty Intermediate

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 8

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Supply Chain Management and AM
  • Digital Thread and Digital Twin
  • Serialization
  • Serialization and Additive Manufacturing
  • Review: Supply Chain Management and Additive Manufacturing
  • Blockchain
  • Blockchain and Additive Manufacturing
  • Review: Serialization and Blockchain
  • Describe supply chain management for AM.
  • Define digital thread and digital twin.
  • Describe serialization.
  • Describe the use of serialization in AM supply chain management.
  • Describe blockchain.
  • Describe the use of blockchain in AM supply chain management.
Vocabulary Term

additive manufacturing

AM. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. Additive manufacturing methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.


The ability to respond quickly to customer needs and market changes while still controlling costs and quality. Agility in manufacturing may be enabled by additive manufacturing.


A mathematical process designed to systematically solve a problem. Complex digital algorithms allow machine learning to predict and regulate operations.


Additive manufacturing. The process of joining or solidifying materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. AM methods typically build up layers of material to create an object.

block header hash

A 256-bit number attached to the nonce when a block is created. The hash is an essential element of a block in blockchain technology.


A growing list of digital records, called blocks, that are linked. Blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records the origin of a digital asset.


One identifying unit within a blockchain. Blocks include data and unique identifying numbers.


Imitating fraudulently. Counterfeiting involves making an exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive or defraud.


Protection against criminal or unauthorized access to computer networks, programs, and data. Cybersecurity has become a major industrial concern as networking and connectivity have increased.


The allocation of resources, both hardware and software, to each individual workstation or office location. Decentralized computer systems are components of a larger computer network.

digital supply chain

DSC. A web-based network of computers, companies, and systems that exchange resources to deliver products to customers. A digital supply chain connects suppliers and stakeholders throughout the entire product lifecycle.

digital thread

An integrated view of all the data and information about a part or product throughout its lifecycle. The digital thread connects information from all aspects of a product into one seamless network.

digital twin

A virtual representation of a physical object, such as a part or machine. A digital twin evolves with the object throughout its lifecycle.

distributed ledger

A consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions. In a distributed ledger, there is no central administrator or centralized data storage.


The entire timeline of something. In manufacturing, lifecycle includes part design, machine setup, production, quality, and end of life.


Any kind of electronic device that maintains copies of the blockchain and keeps the network functioning. Nodes are decentralized and distributed.


A 32-bit whole number randomly generated when a block is created, which then generates a block header hash. A nonce is an essential element of a block in blockchain technology.

nondestructive testing

NDT. A category of inspection processes that evaluate a part's properties and performance using methods that do not damage or permanently alter the part. Nondestructive testing methods include visual testing, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, eddy current testing, ultrasonic testing, and radiographic testing.


The unauthorized use or reproduction of another's work. Piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of intellectual property.


The place of origin of something. Provenance of a digital asset is recorded in blockchain.

radio frequency identification

RFID. A technology that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. RFID tags consist of a tiny radio transponder, radio receiver, and radio transmitter.


A rule or directive made and maintained by an authority. Regulations can be set by governmental agencies and industry organizations.

regulatory compliance

When a business follows state, federal, and international laws and regulations relevant to its operations. Regulatory compliance varies by industry, as well as the countries where a business sells products.

serial numbers

A unique identifier assigned incrementally or sequentially to an item in a series. Serial numbers need not be strictly numerical and may contain letters or other symbols.


The process of tagging individual units of inventory with unique identifiers that are assigned sequentially to each item. Serialization may take the form of serial numbers, RFID chips, or other unique, sequential tags.

supply chain

A network of companies that exchange resources, such as materials and information, to deliver products to customers. Supply chains consist of a company, its suppliers, its distributors, and its customers.

supply chain management

The process of planning, implementing, and controlling supply chain activities to achieve maximum customer value and sustain competitive advantage. Supply chain management oversees each organization in the supply chain, from development to sourcing to production to delivery.

total cost of ownership

TCO. The purchase price of an asset plus the costs of operation. Total cost of ownership helps assess the value of an investment over time.


The ability to verify the history, application, or location of an item using data flows. Digital threads enable traceability throughout the entire production lifecycle.


Existing on or simulated within a computer program or system rather than physically existing. Virtual representations of real-world objects are known as digital twins.


A type of electromagnetic wave with a high frequency and short wavelength. X-rays are used to view the interior of solid objects during radiographic testing.