Automation engineering and industrial computing experts Hexa IngenierosandSigneBlock, a Signe Group spin-off specialising in blockchain,have signed a partnership agreement to apply blockchain technology to Industry 4.0.
The traceability and transparency provided by blockchain help to deliver precise information on the entire supply chain process associated with a product, from its origin to its sale, putting an end to fraud, the illegal copying of certain products, and identity theft. Ultimately, it is an indispensable tool in the fight against counterfeiting. Both firms will present their new solution at the Advanced Factories 2019trade fair held from 9 to 11 April in Barcelona.
On an industrial level, blockchain offers considerable advantages. SigneBlock CEO Marta Gutiérrez explains, “This technology interconnects every stakeholder in the supply chain by implementing smart auditing systems that improve process efficiency without compromising the privacy that companies require to protect their know-how.” Thus, blockchain makes it possible to verify the authenticity of any product as well as the quality of the raw materials used in production processes. “This is how the term ‘supply chain’ became ‘supply blockchain’,” attests Ms Gutiérrez.
According to Hexa Ingenieros CEO José María Guillén, “It’s essential to implement information and management systems in industrial environments to improve competitiveness and product quality. Shorter manufacturing cycles and more complex products, the possibility of real-time decision making and improved performance, and need to assure data integrity, security and energy efficiency all now make digitization imperative. Blockchain can play a key role in facilitating this entire process.”
Blockchain is a technology that — through a cryptographically secured network of distributed and interconnected nodes containing traces of every piece of data handled — enables the building of an interconnected ecosystem extremely resistant to potential cyberattacks, ensuring full information transparency and reliability.
Many sectors can benefit from its application, among them the food, energy, environmental, automotive, infrastructure and pharmaceutical industries. Specifically, in this last field, blockchain serves as a fundamental ally. Pharmaceutical industry legislation is based on ensuring the integrity and security of data generated during the production process. Issues affecting this information can pose public health risks and entail sales of substandard and counterfeit products, which, in certain countries, account for up to 20% of medicines. As the opportunity to incorporate fraudulent products occurs some way down the supply chain — after the product has left the factory — one of the main uses of blockchain in Industry 4.0 will comprise uniquely identifying drugs subject to regulated production so as to enable end customers to verify the authenticity of these medications from their mobile devices.