Archive for February, 2021

Counterfeit Parts In Aerospace And Defense

February 4th, 2021

The automotive, electrical, military and aerospace industries have faced a huge increase in counterfeiting and have been waging a long battle against counterfeited products. In the electrical, military and aerospace industries the impact of counterfeiting goes far beyond intellectual property protection or trademark infringement.

The electrical, military and aerospace industries have been a relatively easy target for counterfeit components. Their inadvertent use can have catastrophic consequences when undetected. Uncertified parts are often passed off as authentic and their use doesn’t become immediately evident.

Aerospace, space and defense products are desirable targets for counterfeiters as the systems used are intended to last over an extended period of time. They become vulnerable to obsolescence of parts, materials and technologies. Difficulties are encountered in securing the same part from a manufacturer to replace original parts. Due to parts unavailability from the original manufacturer, industries are forced to turn to independent distributors to source replacement parts.

The impact of the use of counterfeit parts or materials in the aerospace and defense industry ranges from monetary losses in the form of project cost overruns, liability, lack of availability of products, loss of customer trust, erosion of brand and image to potential and actual loss of life.

There is a long history of counterfeit airline parts which are unapproved and substandard being sold to unsuspecting airline companies. The US have discovered a lot of fake products showing up in their navy and airforce aircraft. Going back to the 1970s the Federal Aviation Administration found counterfeit systems in Boeing 737 aircraft.

In 2008 airline parts were reportedly found on sale at online consumer auction websites offering gears, flanges, gauges, radar parts and valves to buyers. Russian police have discovered criminal operations producing and selling civil aircraft parts. Back in the 1980s United States investigators discovered bogus spare parts in numerous helicopters in service in with NATO forces.

Boeing recently reported that parts like rivets, nuts and fluid bolts are components which are easily replicated and sold. Other electronic components like semiconductors, resistors, capacitors, electronic assemblies, pumps, actuators, batteries, integrated circuits and materials such as titanium and composite chemicals are also commonly counterfeited.

There are a wide variety of sources of counterfeit parts and materials ranging from original manufacturers, through to authorised distributors, after-market suppliers, test houses, and component source facilities. There are many ways that counterfeit parts can infiltrate the supply chain.

The military have been particularly vulnerable as they no longer use military-specific parts, relying nearly exclusively upon commercial manufacturers when sourcing parts for military applications.

It has been recognised that there is a pressing need for supply chain controls to be implemented so that the provenance of a part is traceable through all the possible links in the supply chain back to a credible and verifiable trusted source. A quality assurance process is being developed which is based on commonly agreed upon rules in the aerospace industry to try to stem the tide of counterfeit products making their way into the supply chain.

The semiconductor industry is also at war with counterfeiters producing dangerous counterfeit parts and components. Many semiconductor counterfeits emanate from China. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the National Electronic Distributors Association (NEDA) are both aware of the need to prevent substandard and counterfeit components from infiltrating aerospace and military applications. An SIA Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) was set up in 2006 to establish a program to reduce the incidence of semiconductor product counterfeiting.

To this end SIA is co-operating with a special STM International Tracability Committee in developing a standard encouraging the use of authentication service providers. Manufacturers would be required to place an encrypted plate on labels affixed to each box of chips so that potential purchasers can make inquiries using this identifier. Given the technologies available today and the nature of the products used in the industry it seems conceivable that RFID enabled solutions combined with cryptographic techniques may be suitable for tracing products as part of the product authentication process. Although more commonly used in logistics and asset and inventory management, it remains to be seen what kind of scale of investment and suite of tools and protocols will be required to meet these very serious threats posed by counterfeited products.

Hardware Components Dominate the Aerospace and Defense C-Class Parts Market

February 4th, 2021

C-class parts are small in size and have low cost, but are one of the most critical components used in an aircraft. They are situated across the aircraft including fuselage, wings, landing gear fittings, control surfaces, flight control actuating systems, and air-intake areas near the engine.

Hardware components constitute nearly half of the c-class parts used in the aircraft industry and constitute parts including fasteners, bolts, screws, nuts, rivets, springs, valves, washers, etc. Fasteners, the largest category of hardware components, include a wide range of highly engineered aerospace parts that are designed to hold together two or more components. Bearings mainly include airframe control bearings, rod ends, ball bearings, needle roller bearings, bushings, and precision bearings. Electronic components include mainly connectors, relays, switches, circuit breakers, and lighted products. Machined parts mainly include brackets, milled parts, shims, stampings, and turned parts.

Changing dynamics in the global aerospace and defense industry have an impact on the c-class parts market. For instance, major OEMs, such as Boeing and Airbus are incorporating high amount of composite materials in their next generation aircraft. Composites rich aircraft generally require fewer c-class parts than an aircraft made of traditional non-composite materials. The parts used in next generation aircraft are generally priced higher than c-class aerospace parts used in non-composite aircraft structures.

The global aerospace & defense c-class parts market offers a healthy growth opportunity of 4.4% CAGR during the forecast period of 2016 to 2021 and reach US$ 12.1 billion. Increasing commercial and regional aircraft deliveries, technology advancement, and growing aerospace & defense fleet size are the key drivers in the global aerospace & defense market.

Hardware components dominate the global aerospace & defense market in 2015, followed by bearings, electronic components, and machined parts. North America is expected to remain the leading region in the aerospace & defense c-class parts market since it is the manufacturing hub of major tier players and aerospace & defense OEMs.

The supply chain of this market comprises raw material manufacturers, c-class part manufacturers, distributors, tier players, aerospace OEMs, and airline companies. The key distributors are Wesco Aircraft, Kellstrom industries, and Aviall Services and the key aerospace OEMs are Boeing, Airbus, Comac, Bombardier, Embraer, ATR, Lockheed Martin, Cessna, and Gulfstream.

The key aerospace & defense c-class part manufacturers are Precision Casts Parts (PCC) Fasteners, Arconic Fastening Systems, Lisi Aerospace, RBC Bearings, Stanley Black & Deker, Eaton Corporation, and Amphenol Corporation. New product development, collaboration with tier players and OEMs, and long term contacts are the key strat