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Manufacturing

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • Embedded World 2017

    Embedded World 2017

    Embedded World 2017 was a blast! After 2 weeks on the road of sub-zero temperatures in DC, Boston, Ottawa, and Montreal it was great to see spring for the first time in 2017 in Nürnberg (Nuremberg! German beer is best consumed in the sunshine!) At the fair, all the OEMs I spoke with were jam packed with […]

  • Counterfeits  Take To the Road

    Counterfeits Take To the Road

    Those who have been keeping up know the threat counterfeiting poses to the embedded world. To this point, most of our conversations regarding counterfeits have been focused on the damage they can do to projects, the costs incurred to replace them, and the threat they pose to the security of the supply chain. However, there is still the basic, personal way they continue to threaten us—the real and direct danger to us and our families as we go about the day-to-day business of driving from place to place.

    Counterfeit tires are on the road, and they are less safe and of lower quality than the products they pretend to be.

  • DARPA’s Defense Against Counterfeiting: SHIELD

    DARPA’s Defense Against Counterfeiting: SHIELD

    At DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), proposals are already being accepted for the new Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics program, aka SHIELD. The SHIELD program will be the DOD’s response to component counterfeiting in the supply chain and will include the use of a “a small (100 micron x 100 micron) component, or dielet, that authenticates the provenance of electronics components. Proposed dielets should contain a full encryption engine, sensors to detect tampering and would readily affix to today’s electronic components such as microchips.” The goal, according to MTO Program Manager Kerry Bernstein is to provide a chip that monetarily and technically deincentivizes counterfeiting, yet can be produced for less than a penny per unit.

  • Microgrid Death Spiral: The Argument Over “Obsolete” Power Infrastructure

    Microgrid Death Spiral: The Argument Over “Obsolete” Power Infrastructure

    In January of 2013, the Edison Electric Institute released a report titled “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business”, which outlined a variety of challenges traditional power utilities will face in the upcoming years. The current power infrastructure in the United States wasn’t constructed with end-user power generation in mind, so the increasing power independence of households and businesses creates threats of “irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects.” Chief among new technologies are advanced renewable energy sources, including solar, and the growth of grid-independent distributed power generators, aka microgrids.

  • Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    Counterfeit Components Hurt More Than Military Applications

    When reading the news around counterfeit components, much of the dialogue is driven by the defense industry. When you are dealing with systems that protect our national security and the lives of the people out in the field – you’re not dealing with counterfeits in a bunch of trivial electronics. You’re taking necessary steps to protect the lives of men and women who depend on the systems for their safety. Since 2011 more than 1800 cases of counterfeit components were reported in defense applications, including mission computers operating the THAAD missile system, in the Air Force’s C-27J, in the Navy’s P-8A, and in electromagnetic interference filters on an SH-60B helicopter.

    However, the trouble with counterfeits isn’t limited to the defense industry and the military. They’re just currently the ones driving the conversation and legislation such as the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Sec. 818.

  • A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting

    It is a program devised by a secretive government agency. Its purpose is to organize and motivate the top actors in their fields to come together to prevent crimes that threaten not only the economy but our national security. It focuses its attention on producing cutting-edge technologies. It is SHIELD, and it is becoming a reality.

    No . . . no . . . not that SHIELD. That’s Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting. We’re talking about the Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense program being initiated by DARPA, and rather than placing a series of gigantic floating gun platforms in the upper atmosphere, it’s looking to place tiny 100 micron by 100 micron authentication dielets on all the electronic components used in Department of Defense programs.

  • Obsolescence: Too Soon or Not Soon Enough?

    Obsolescence: Too Soon or Not Soon Enough?

    It is strange how onboarding the concept of legacy sustainment can change the way you look at the world around you. On a recent road trip along one of the nation’s many two-lane highways, I found myself wondering about the thousands upon thousands of wooden utility poles dotting the landscape. How often are they repaired? […]

  • Counterfeit Components: More than parts — it is about people

    Counterfeit Components: More than parts — it is about people

    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.

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