Digital Supply Chain. 

Joe Inkenbrandt and Stephan Thomas saw how digital manufacturing was lagging when it came to intellectual property rights. Acquired by Materialise in 2022.

As the manufacturing industry increasingly embraces digitization, ensuring the integrity of data flow from design to production and safeguarding intellectual property remain significant barriers to technology adoption.

As the realm of digital manufacturing experiences rapid advancements, propelled by emerging technologies like additive manufacturing, safeguarding data has become paramount for all users. In response to this pressing need, a host of initiatives have emerged to fortify data protection. Among them is Identify3D, a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2014. With a mission to streamline digital manufacturing, Identify3D offers a comprehensive solution that not only shields data but also enables production repeatability and traceability. We had the opportunity to sit down with co-founder Stephan Thomas to delve deeper into the innovative offerings of Identify3D.

The primary objective at Identify3D is to facilitate decentralized manufacturing for the Industry 4.0 era. By delivering an end-to-end solution from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to manufacturing devices, it seamlessly integrates data protection, manufacturing repeatability, and traceability. The solution caters to the entire spectrum of digital manufacturing, encompassing both additive and subtractive machine technologies such as 3D printing and CNC machines, respectively. Moreover, it prioritizes the secure distribution and verification of digital design files by integrating with part distribution platforms, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

Digital manufacturing relies heavily on digital data streams, which create vulnerabilities within the digital supply chain, hindering the exponential growth of this transformative technology. Identify3D aims to become the industry standard for securing digital supply chains, guaranteeing the authentication and precise manufacturing of parts.

Identify3D is presently collaborating with various Fortune 500 manufacturing companies in sectors like Aerospace and Defense, Transportation, and Medical, forging partnerships with software and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) firms. Notably, its integrations encompass several CAD packages, including Siemens NX, Materialise Magics, and Cura. In terms of PLM, we integrate with Siemens Teamcenter and Solidworks PDM Professional.

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Joe Inkenbrandt and Stephan Thomas


Joe Inkenbrandt & Stephan Thomas

With over two decades of experience in the tech industry, a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Computer Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master of Business Administration from the prestigious University of California, Berkeley - Walter A. Haas School of Business, Joe Inkenbrandt has more than just a solid technical foundation.

Throughout his career, he has held diverse roles in sales, engineering, and business development. Joe's journey began as a sales engineer at Cryptography Research, a renowned Rambus Company, but he eventually went on to found Identify3D.

Prior to his involvement with Identify3D, Stephan served as an Advisory Board Member - Value Optimization Board at Mekong Capital from May 2014 to December 2016. During this time, he contributed their expertise to drive value optimization initiatives.

Stephan's tenure as a Partner/Principal - Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst & Young allowed him to make a significant impact by optimizing costs and reducing risk for clients. Most notably, Stephan oversaw an IT Cost Optimization program that resulted in a 10% reduction in budgeted expenses and served as the Transition Services Manager for a financial services company in Asia.


“At the center of a digital supply chain is the movement of valuable data from design through manufacturing.”


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