“Proactively take timely and effective actions to identify and minimize the DMSMS impact on DoD acquisition and logistics support efforts.” SD-22 DMSMS Guidebook The DMSMS conference is just around the corner. As a conference all about obsolescence management, it tends to be one we look forward to every year. This year, we’re looking to take […]
For players in the embedded industry it is easy to forget how large the problem of obsolescence can be, especially beyond the component level. Recently, I was talking to a software engineer who had spent a year doing software modernization, as a result of upgrading a flight navigational system from the original code to Linux.
The reasoning for the transition certainly made sense—the program was having difficulties finding software engineers who could continue to sustain programming that had been implemented during the early 1980s. While the system was incredibly robust and was considered “bulletproof,” it could no longer be supported the way it had been. Under pressure to upgrade, the program moved to Linux, which has a community that affords an active and growing resource for talent.
When the subject of counterfeit mitigation and avoidance comes up you generally find a couple of areas that people focus on: standards, test/inspection, and tagging. Tagging can involve many things, including specially etched marks, marks that show up only under certain lights, rare earth tags, and DNA tags. In general, these marks rely one or […]
GDCA enjoyed the privilege of being a part of this year’s Arrow Electronics ACT Masters 2013 in Denver CO. Arrow’s technical sales force was trained in a centralized fashion while suppliers got a first glimpse of Arrow’s strategy and technical roadmap. This year’s theme celebrated the spirit of innovation by acknowledging the expertise of Arrow’s […]
With the dialog about counterfeits in the supply chain, it is easy to lose track of what counterfeits actually mean. Yes, they will hurt your business. Yes, they can lead to heavy penalties and jail time, but counterfeits can also lead to jeopardizing lives; a risk that could otherwise have been avoided.
I am always looking for recent numbers and reports to keep the topic fresh and moving forward. But, recently, as I researched my paper for the upcoming SMTA International conference, I’ve come across some new numbers that drives home, once again, how vulnerable everyone is to the issues around counterfeits.
I personally take an average of 2-4 flights every month. According to the FAA, the amount of travel Americans are doing both for business and recreation is increasing. It is projected that the total number of people flying commercially on U.S. airlines will increase from 732 million to 746 million in 2013, and increase to 1.2 billion by 2032. And in 2010 the FAA estimated that some 520,000 counterfeit parts make their way into planes each year.
To answer the question, we need to look at the issues of innovation from a different angle; namely economics and markets. Free markets are a wonderful concept as long as the motivation and incentives are aligned in the right way for all the players in order to achieve the set objective. So let us look […]
Following a directive from the US military in the early 1990s, the defense industry made a shift from using custom embedded electronic components made to military specifications to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components. Since the overall share of the DoD as a consumer was expected to shrink over time, this move to reduce costs took a practical […]
Saying that something is “good enough for government work” is often meant as a joke and the reference implies “mediocre work.” The irony is that “government work” is often highly sophisticated; systems are designed and engineered to operate in the most extreme environmental conditions for a very long period of time.
I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with a talented component engineer who has spent much of his career working in the defense industry. During the course of our discussion I learned that some aviation systems need ICs to operate in temperature extremes ranging from -55°C to 125°C; ground units often travel in harsh environmental conditions (e.g. fighting extreme heat and sand storms in deserts) while being exposed to hostile attacks; satellites traveling through orbit are exposed to protons and heavy ions from solar flares, yet must operate reliably in space.
Managing components at risk of going EOL requires proactive planning. If this vital step is not implemented, critical systems run into increased risk of exposure to counterfeits. Two topics that program managers never want to hear about are counterfeit components, and end-of-life (EOL). While it is possible to come across counterfeit components on active products, this risk can generally be mitigated by implementing smart buying practices, such as purchasing from a franchised distribution line or directly from the original component manufacturer (OCM). Unfortunately, as components go EOL, yet are still needed in critical systems, they become difficult to find and increasingly more expensive. These facts combined with often careless buying practices, leave the embedded supply chain exposed to counterfeit components. These risks only increase as systems age.
No matter what your opinion; DNA tagging is currently one of the top methods being discussed to ensure component authentication. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) even issued a Request for Information on the subject.
Unfortunately, due to the costs projected and associated with DNA tagging and authentication, few businesses appear to be looking forward to the prospect.
At first glance DNA tagging, like many of the industry’s current solutions, makes sense: increase the complexity of the marks so that counterfeiters are unable reproduce it. DNA would be a “tag” both difficult and expensive to try and recreate. However, DNA tagging and many of the solutions being proposed are “point forward” solutions that, in order to be truly effective, would need to be implemented at the component manufacturing level, not once parts have left the factory floor.