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The Fraunhofer Blockchain Lab explores the industrial application of the technology and proposes fields in which the blockchain can drive Industry 4.0. One real potential of the technology that the experts propose is the broad replacement of centralized authorities, to facilitate audit-proof, correct, and streamlined transactions between business partners or between semi-autonomous manufacturing machines or product supply chains. In a presentation at the HANNOVER MESSE, the researchers demonstrated the application of a blockchain for the production and supply of steel rails.

Each individual workpiece contains a digital shadow in the blockchain, consisting of the order and production data to certify the quality criteria. Comprehensive logging of the entire transport route helps prevent goods being replaced with inferior goods, while the entire logistics process is automated with regard to the choice of transport company and route. The ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg are already using blockchain-based processes in an attempt to make their port logistics more efficient.