Blockchain-based application for the traceability of complex assembly structures

Kuhn M, Funk F, Zhang G, Franke J (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 59

Pages Range: 617–630

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmsy.2021.04.013


Production processes are becoming increasingly complex and decentralized, spanning across multiple manufacturing areas, factories, and even countries. Thereby is the development of a holistic and data-continuous traceability system, which provides transparency of records for the entire manufacturing flow from raw materials to the final product, one of the main challenges. While some solutions already address traceability issues in supply chain management and manufacturing, customized and volatile industries, in which each product features a unique configuration, are still lacking appropriate models and proofs of concept. In this research, we develop a decentralized blockchain application called TokenTrail, which focuses on the specific traceability requirements of multi-hierarchical assembly structures. The proposed blockchain architecture is based on a consortium Ethereum network and a Proof of Authority consensus, which delivers a trusted and shared database within an economic processing framework. To overcome the challenges of managing liaison transformations, we develop an assembly token manager based on the semi-fungible ERC 1155 token, which enables a direct representation of complex assembly processes and structures containing unique parts and batches within one smart contract. A user-friendly front-end application simplifies the querying of the recorded traceability data and visualizes existing dependencies.

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How to cite


Kuhn, M., Funk, F., Zhang, G., & Franke, J. (2021). Blockchain-based application for the traceability of complex assembly structures. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 59, 617–630.


Kuhn, Marlene, et al. "Blockchain-based application for the traceability of complex assembly structures." Journal of Manufacturing Systems 59 (2021): 617–630.

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