While counterfeit aerospace parts are a small portion of the counterfeit goods manufactured and sold globally, potential safety risks make it imperative that aircraft manufacturers be able to authenticate the parts they use.
Recently, Honeywell announced it is working with iTRACE and SecureMarking to bring transparency and increased security to the e-commerce market of aerospace products via blockchain technology. This first-of-its-kind process in the aerospace market will greatly simplify the complex regulatory and supply-chain landscape in the industry.
Under the new process, the moment a part comes off the Honeywell assembly line, the identification plate receives a two-factor authentication marking. First, iTRACE’s 2DMI data matrix is laser-etched onto the identification plate. Next, an invisible, high-security ink, provided by Honeywell’s Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT) business and SecureMarking, a third-party authentication company, is applied.
Finally, the iTRACE mobile app scans the 2D matrix and activates the digital authenticity record for the part. This data, along with the part’s birth information, is recorded on Honeywell’s digital blockchain ledger.
Because the two-factor authentication always follows the part from the time of installation until it is taken out of service, the results of this process are a reduction in counterfeit parts and a more dependable supply chain for manufacturers.
“Honeywell is committed to enhancing part provenance and authenticity in aerospace part sales, and to provide transparency by storing digital verification records onto the blockchain ledger for all to see,” said Lisa Butters, general manager of Honeywell’s GoDirect Trade online marketplace. “Our mission is to build the first aerospace marketplace that customers can confidently buy quality parts from. Our work with Honeywell PMT, SecureMarking and iTRACE is bringing new levels of security to the aviation industry.”
Honeywell’s blockchain is a highly secure, decentralized database that is crowd-sourced by all its authorized users. Each user that Honeywell allows has a copy of the database and knows its contents in real time. Like fans watching a football game in the stands, these users can look at the scoreboard to see the same data simultaneously.
“We help companies solve the problem of securely connecting their physical parts to their blockchain digital ledgers with a 2DMI mark that is laser-etched onto the identification plate, ranging in size from 0.1 mm by 0.1 mm to 5 mm by 5 mm,” said iTRACE founder and CEO Mark Manning. “Together with Honeywell, we can now cost-effectively secure, track, trace and authenticate any part, anywhere in the world, creating the provenance for that part throughout its life cycle.”
This anti-counterfeit blockchain technology will have a far-reaching impact in aerospace, where parts change ownership an average of four times throughout their life cycle. A repair technician will be able to scan a code and shine a light on the identification plate to verify authenticity of the part and see where the part has physically traveled during its lifetime. Every stop the part makes on its journey is tracked on the blockchain ledger to verify an aircraft part’s history and provide new levels of transparency for customers.
“Honeywell is helping us provide new levels of security necessary in the aerospace industry to link physical parts in a supply chain to its digital records,” said Daniel Stanton, president of SecureMarking. “We use upconverting nanoparticle ink to create physically unclonable codes, bringing the ability for every aerospace part to be stored on the blockchain network.”