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Defense and aerospace Industries have been facing the risk of bogus parts manufactured by 3D printers.

The issue of product safety in these industries is thus critical. Commercial airplanes, for example, are designed and constructed using hundreds of thousands of parts, and quality inspectors are continually working to ensure counterfeit parts don’t find their way into the supply chain.

According to ECN Magazine, 3D printing of aircraft and other defense parts certainly transforms the military support environment, but the threat of counterfeit parts might reach this market.

“The threat of counterfeit parts from easily accessible 3D printers, coupled with the endless amount of designs available on the Internet, could fuel a black market”, Graham Grose, industry director at the IFS Aerospace & Defence Center of Excellence said in an interview with “This has the potential to severely impact the support chain, enabling anyone with the technology to sell counterfeit parts at a discount and leave unsuspecting businesses at risk of poorly performing and dangerous parts,” Graham said.

“While 3D printing is rightly being welcomed in the A&D industry, it will also require key changes in ERP systems to control every element of the manufacturing, maintenance and support chain processes to manage the possibility of counterfeit parts entering the support chain,” he added.

Organizations must adopt an enterprise-wide approach for the management of underlying software support solutions if the transition to an effective and safe environment is to be achieved. Ensuring complete compliance and safety in an industry as heavily regulated as aerospace and defense is paramount.

He evalutated that one of the solutions is standardization – the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is already heavily engaged in standards development for 3D printing, particularly in specifying the design and construct of 3D printing files.