Exciting New Robot from Boston Dynamics

Handle2Boston Dynamics has developed an exciting new robot named Handle. As an article on ElectronicsWeekly.com  describes it as “It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge. Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Continue reading “Exciting New Robot from Boston Dynamics”

Counterfeit Chip traffickers arrested for redistributing semiconductors to US military

Three Chinese nationals were arrested for trafficking in stolen Intel and Xilinx chips. A US undercover agent initially expressed interest in buying the electronic components for use on US Navy submarines.  Later in the process , the undercover  agent expressed concern about being caught using stolen semiconductors. The traffickers then offered up counterfeit parts to him instead of the stolen components.

Stolen components or counterfeit components — either one brings it own set of problems if  they enter the  US military supply stream and are eventually used in place of authentic parts.

“The Justice Department and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting those who would supply our armed forces with counterfeit electronic components, as well as those who attempt to steal sophisticated U.S. military components and distribute them places unknown,” said U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, in announcing the charges.

Both counterfeit and stolen parts are indeed serious issues,. To read the full article see, http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/fbi-arrests-counterfeit-chip-traffickers-2015-12/

 

Who Bears the Costs for Counterfeit Parts?

If a government contractor purchases parts which turn out to be counterfeit or suspect, who should bear the costs of those parts?  New requirements proposed by the Department of Defense would block contractors from passing along the cost to the government.   The new regulations are contained in Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement 2012-D055.

The proposed regulations provide only a vague definition of what is a counterfeit part and does not define specific tests to determine if a part is counterfeit. 

Hopefully, the final version will provide a clearer definition and an outline of how parts should be tested.  The U.S. government also needs to be careful not to go to the other extreme.  The best testing methods will change over time as counterfeiters continually grow more sophisticated.  In addition, the best test protocol may vary depending on the specific part and how it is going to be used.

One advantage to the proposed regulations is that it will push contractors to be more careful who they buy their parts from.  If the parts turn out to be counterfeit, the contractor may now have to bear the cost of those parts.

Department of Defense Instruction 4140.67 – Counterfeit Prevention Requirements

The U.S. Department of Defense has taken a step towards establishing counterfeit prevention requirements for contractors. Late last month the DOD released a document which details who within the department has what specific responsibilities for counterfeit prevention.  From undersecretaries of defense on down, Department of Defense Instruction Number 4140.67, spells out various tasks and oversight in the effort to prevent counterfeit parts from entering the DOD supply chain. The document, issued April 26, 2013, also talks about responsibilities for properly flagging parts which are considered possibly counterfeit.

It is worth noting that this document is not limited to discussing counterfeit electronic components. Rather, it talks about counterfeit components in general. Although counterfeit electronic components still represent the largest area of concern, a wide range of parts sold to the DOD can be targets of counterfeiting.

The main purpose of this document is to define areas of responsibility, an important step in creating a comprehensive risk mitigation plan.  In defining those areas, Instruction 41460.67 gives some of the boundaries of the counterfeit protection system the DOD is mandated to establish.

What is a counterfeit component?  This document defines it as: “an item that is an unauthorized copy or substitute that has been identified, marked, or altered by a source other than the item’s legally authorized source, and has been misrepresented to be an authorized item of the legally authorized source.”

Instruction 4140.67 also specifies that the DOD will use GIDEP to report counterfeit components. Further, the document states the DOD should avoid establishing DoD-unique anti-counterfeiting procedures, a hopeful sign that DOD requirements will co-exist well with emerging industry standards.

Based on reviewing the DOD Instruction No: 4140.67, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how the Section 818 “Parts Regulations”  will address having all contractors report all occurrences of suspect or confirmed counterfeit parts to GIDEP.

I am interested in how it will address counterfeit materials broadly rather than being limited to the counterfeit parts addressed in section 818.  Another area of interest is what is planned for the strict requirement designation to both critical and susceptible to counterfeiting items being traceable back to the manufacturer through a unique item identifier.

Senate Committee Finds Counterfeit Parts Used in Military

A recent report released by the Senate Armed Services Committee reveals that counterfeit components have in fact been used in military vehicles and aircraft.  The report is a result of a 14-month investigation into the use of counterfeit electronic components in the military.

As part of the investigation, a database was complied with 1,800 cases of counterfeiting involving over one million parts. In over 70% of the cases cited in the report, the parts came directly from China. In many remaining cases, the components were purchased from a company based elsewhere, but the parts themselves originated in China.

This Senate report once again illustrates the need for rigorous professional testing to ensure that all parts are genuine and meet their specifications. NJMET offers a full menu of counterfeit component testing under its Mission Imposter® Counterfeit Detection Program.  For more information, see our website: http://www.njmetmtl.com/mission.aspx

For more information on the Senate Armed Services Committee report, see this Bloomberg News report: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-21/china-top-source-of-counterfeit-u-s-military-electronics.html