Boeing, a multinational manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense and space systems, has signed an accord with Israel’s Assembrix Ltd. for the use of the startup’s software to secure Boeing’s intellectual property during the 3D manufacturing of parts. Boeing will also invest an undisclosed amount of money to jointly further develop the software with the Israeli company.
Boeing and Assembrix said on Monday that they signed a memorandum of agreement that will allow Boeing to use Assembrix software to manage and protect the intellectual property it shares with vendors during design and manufacturing of parts using 3D printing.
“This agreement expands Boeing’s ties to Israeli industry while helping companies like Assembrix expand their business,” said David Ivry, president of Boeing Israel. “Boeing seeks suppliers globally who meet stringent quality, schedule, cost and intellectual capital, and Assembrix does all of that.”
Assembrix has developed cloud-based software that optimizes 3D printing processes for industrial use. It also secures the intellectual property of companies when they use subcontractors for their 3D printing jobs. The software will enable Boeing to transmit its manufacturing design information to 3D printers using a secure distribution method, that enables the protection of data from being intercepted, corrupted or decrypted during the distribution and manufacturing processes.
“Once you move to 3D printing, the process becomes digital,” Assembrix co-founder and CEO Lior Polak said in a phone interview. The design and manufacturing specifications are all put into one digital file, whereupon the owner of the file “loses control” of what can happen to it, once it is transferred to the manufacturer.
“Our system enables in a secure way to control the 3D process,” he said. “The intellectual property, which belongs to the manufacturer, stays secure and our system allows the manufacturer to monitor the 3D printing remotely as well.”
The accord with Boeing envisages the US firm acquiring the software but also investing an amount of money to further develop Assembrix’s software together, Polak said.
Boeing uses advanced 3D printing methods to produce some of its products, and it develops parts with 3D manufacturing capabilities at 20 sites worldwide, partnering with suppliers across the globe to supply it with 3D-printed parts for its commercial, space and defense platforms.
Assembrix was founded in 2014 by Polak and Dan Halperin, a professor of computer science at Tel Aviv University whose main field of research is computational geometry. Computation geometry is the basis of the Assembrix software, said Polak.
The company has raised seed funding to date from angel investors and Israel’s Innovation Authority.