Honeywell implements aerospace authentication system

Honeywell has introduced a multi-faceted authentication system, based on serialised codes, security inks and blockchain, to protect its aerospace components from counterfeiting.

The new system – developed with iTRACE and SecureMarking – employs two-factor authentication to allow customers to ensure Honeywell aerospace parts are genuine, said the company.

“This first-of-its-kind process in the aerospace market will greatly simplify the complex regulatory and supply-chain landscape in the industry,” added the company, which is one of the largest suppliers in the sector with a market share estimated at almost 11 per cent.

It builds on a blockchain-driven marketplace introduced last year – called GoDirect Trade – which aims to make it easier and quicker for traders to check the certification and origin of Honeywell Aerospace components.

Parts can change ownership an average of four times throughout their life cycle, so there is a need for systems that can prevent fake or otherwise illegal products being inveigled into the supply chain.

Using the new system, as parts come 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. Then an invisible, high-security nanoparticle ink – provided by Honeywell's Performance Materials and Technologies business and authentication specialist SecureMarking – 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.

That means for example that 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 travelled during its lifetime.

“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,” says Honeywell.

Honeywell describes its blockchain system as “a highly secure, decentralised database that is crowd-sourced by all its authorised users.”

Each user that Honeywell allows has a copy of the database and knows its contents in real time and “like fans watching a football game in the stands, these users can look at the scoreboard to see the same data simultaneously.”

General manager of GoDirect Trade, Lisa Butters (pictured right), tells that as of now, Honeywell is making two avionics and mechanical product parts per second across the globe, and for those parts, "we record every single birth event on the blockchain ledger."

"For the two-factor authentication process we did the trial on, we need to determine which product lines and how deep into the bill of materials we want to go," she adds. "We know we want to do it but want to come up with the right strategic plan to do this across our product lines."

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