Big data’s pivotal role in mitigating electronics counterfeiting

Sectors   |   
Published May 26, 2014   |   
Mary Shacklett

News surfaced in late 2012 that the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) wanted to reduce the risk of counterfeit parts in its supply chain and issued an authentication-marking requirement for electronic microcircuits. “Implementation of this new requirement will reduce the risk of counterfeit parts entering the DLA’s supply chain,” said Chris Metz, chief of the Technical and Quality Policy division for DLA Logistics Operations.

The goal was to brand electrical components with a unique, botanical SigNature DNA mark that combines both structured and unstructured data and that would identify parts to a specific supplier or manufacturer. This month, the DLA came out with more specific procurement guidelines for parts identification and authentication.

“The good news is that the government stepped in with new legislation for the aerospace and defense sectors and that will better protect war fighters,” said Mark Snider, founder and president of ERAI, which monitors, investigates, and reports issues affecting the global electronics supply chain.

Snider recalled the early days of NASA, when every electrical component was custom built and highly reliable and dependable. “After that, the semiconductor industry recognized that commercial off the shelf (CTOS) parts could perform the same function,” he said. “As a result, today we have many readily available components with only a minimum of customization.”

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