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article imageBlockchain for aerospace supply chains to be showcased

By Tim Sandle     Jul 17, 2018 in Business
Farnborough - Accenture is set to unveil a blockchain prototype designed for the aerospace industry supply chains at the international Farnborough Airshow, which takes place in the U.K.
Accenture's new blockchain prototype has been designed to support the commercial aerospace and air defense industry supply chains. The new system will be on show at the Farnborough Airshow, which takes place in July 2018. The Farnborough International Airshow is a week-long, biennial event that combines a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defense industries with a public airshow and it is the second largest such aircraft-related exhibition in the world.
Logistics solution
To come up with the new logistics solution, Accenture, the global management consulting and professional services firm, collaborated with the French aerospace and defense systems provider Thales. Based in Paris, Thales designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets.
The Accenture’s prototype provides the ability to companies working in the aerospace field to verify the authenticity of aircraft parts and supplies, stretching from the beginning to end across the industry’s complex supply chains. Strong oversight is required due to the risks of imperfect (or counterfeit) parts causing aircraft crashes and because military sensitivities are often involved.
Safety and quality
Accenture notes that the biggest challenges in this space are multi-echelon supply chain visibility; configuration management.; ensuring quality; authenticating supply; gaining the necessary certification of people and machines; plus software lifecycle management. These elements are further complicated by complex products, deep supply chains, and a decades-long aftermarket with multiple, often shifting, participants.
Secure means to track and trace
Commentating on the prototype to Forbes, John Schmidt, global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice, said: "Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities."
As to how the blockchain will work in practice, Gareth Williams, vice president for secure communications and information systems at Thales U.K. explains: "Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts. This demonstration builds on the strong relationship Accenture and Thales have created developing innovative digital solutions for a variety of industries."
Single federated digital ledger
With safety in mind, blockchain for aerospace should provide a single federated digital ledger that each party who is involved with aircraft components can use as a single point of verification of what has happened to each component that goes into building, repairing or modifying an aircraft.
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