Sikorsky patents anti-counterfeit component feature

Counterfeit aerospace components are among the most terrifying to contemplate, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp has developed a feature that aims to fight the criminal activity.

The manufacturer – which is now part of US group Lockheed Martin since it was acquired for $9bn in 2015 – has been awarded a US patent (No. 10,286,719) on a “radiation impacting feature” that can be used for authentication, as well as to help prevent 3D scanning and copying of parts.

“One of the common technologies for copying parts is the use of measuring techniques using 3D scanning processes,” says the patent. The feature -which could be “an embedded material, a fluorescent material, a micro-facet, a micro-structure, an emissive material, and a phosphorescent material”, is intended to prevent accurate imaging whilst also serving as a signature to authenticate the part.

In 2011, the US Congress opened an investigation after the discovery of a large number of counterfeit parts in the country’s military equipment, discovering more than a million suspect spare parts. More than 70 per cent of them originated in China.

The abstract of the patent appears below:

Method of manufacturing a part with an anti-counterfeit feature and a part marked for anti-counterfeiting

Abstract: A method of manufacturing a part with an anti-counterfeit feature is provided. The method includes providing a part to be marked for anti-counterfeiting. The part is provided with a radiation impacting feature on or within the part. The radiation impacting feature is configured to at least one of (i) prevent accurate imaging of at least a portion of the part and (ii) provide unique authentication of the part.

(US Patent No. 10,286,719)

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