AS9110 is the aerospace quality management system requirements standard specific and applicable to aerospace maintenance and repair organizations. AS9110 is built upon the ISO 9001:2015 foundation as is the AS9100 Rev D. In the latest revision AS9110 included some new requirements based upon the requirements being enforce by governmental agencies. One of these new requirements is the need for control of the process to prevent use of counterfeit parts.
As aircrafts get older a lot of equipment get obsolete. Aging aircrafts continue to be in use around the world. A good example are fighter jets in use in various militaries around the world. These aircrafts are built with a 50 to 60-year lifespan in mind. Sometimes even more. As equipment get obsolete and planes get older it gets more difficult to find spare parts. This leads to the increased opportunity for introduction of counterfeit parts into the supply chain.
Let us first understand what a counterfeit part is. As defined by AS9110, “An unauthorized copy, imitation, substitute, or modified part, which is knowingly misrepresented as a specified genuine part of an original or authorized manufacturer.” Further as defined by AS9110 it includes but is not limited to the false identification of marking or labeling, grade, serial number, date code, documentation, or performance characteristics.
DOD rule, DFAR 7007, issued in 2014, has been the driving force behind this new requirement. AS9110 adopts a lot of the measures as prescribed by the DOD ruling including awareness training of personnel, a parts obsolescence monitoring program, procurement controls, test methods to verify is an OEM part or not. Large aerospace companies lay down strict guidelines for their suppliers including that only specific suppliers be used for certain parts.
AS9110 Clause 8.1.4 specifically addresses counterfeit part prevention. In addition, clause 8.4.2 asks organizations to, during the verification of received product, perform inspection/testing when high risk of counterfeit parts. Further, clause 8.7.1 requires the control of counterfeit parts, as a non-conforming part, to be conspicuously and permanently marked.
Governmental aerospace agencies further maintain reporting programs such as the EASA suspect Unapproved Part (SUP) and GIDEP reporting programs so organizations can report any counterfeit and suspect unapproved parts identified. AS9110 to manage counterfeit parts is further supported by standards such as AS5553 Counterfeit Electronic Parts: Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition.
Counterfeit parts remain a growing threat with the increase in buying of parts that occur on the internet. Fraudsters too are getting better each day at producing counterfeit parts. The use of a counterfeit part that goes undetected could have disastrous consequences. AS9110 in aligning with industry expectations has introduced this new requirement to address this growing concern.