3D printing of aircraft and other defense parts certainly transforms the military support environment but the threat of counterfeit parts could fuel a grey 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 Defenseworld.net Wednesday.
“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.