3D printing: a double-edged sword

Technology can be a double-edged sword. It indeed brings progress but it also might bring problems. Following up on the last article about the benefits of 3D printing, now comes the time to speak about the problems. In our previous article, we discovered the benefits of using 3D printing. For instance, aeroplane pieces are being printed with higher precision in order to avoid failure or even human organs can be replicate and save lives. It is indeed a great technology. Unfortunately, the advantage of this technology have been discovered by crime organisations as well.

Regarding 3D printers, many people were worried about the possibility of  using this technology to create weapons. Nevertheless, there are other aspects that need to be taken into account. As stated by an article of the BIFAlink magazine, some cargo thieves have used 3D printers to make fake security seals.  Although freight security companies are becoming more and more sophisticated, offering a variety of seals such as indicative, barrier, and electronic to protect different kinds of cargo, it seems as criminals are one “3D” printed step ahead.

The pattern of these assaults was the following: The original manufacturer and carrier seals were placed on a shipment and upon arrival at the customer appeared to be still intact. Once the seals were removed and the shipment opened, it was discovered that most of the cargo was missing. This way, it is possible to hide when a shipment has been compromised.

According to a Swiss shipping and logistics association “SpedLogSwiss”, these seals were so well executed that the robbers even matched the identification numbers on the originals. This was possible due to the fact that fake seals can be 3D printed in as little as 10 minutes, making it nearly impossible to notice the scam without close inspection.

In QCS UK, we are proud to work with a wide range of knowledgeable professionals that are constantly working and tracking new technologies to ensure we remain both compliant and ahead of the curve within the industry.