Traceability Requirements to Avoid Counterfeit Electronic Parts – the G19CI proposal

The SAE G19CI committee recently put forward a proposed revision to AS5553 for ballot. This proposed revision included the following requirement …

“Traceability of EEE Parts acquired from other than Authorized Suppliers shall be tracked to the lowest level of serialized assemblies.”

I can interpret this requirement in several ways. Here are a few examples …

(1) Part number ‘ABCD-1’ is used in the product design circuit assembly ‘123456’ (i.e. part number ‘ABCD-1’, appears as find numbers ‘X1’, ‘X2’, and ‘X3’ on the parts list for a circuit assembly with assembly part number ‘123456’). Circuit assembly ‘123456’ was produced with serial numbers 1 through 100.

(2) Parts with part number ‘ABCD-1’ associated with PO number ‘98765’ were installed on to one or more circuit assemblies with assembly number ‘123456’ serial numbers 1 through 100 for project ‘A1B2B3’ lot ‘101’.

(3) Parts with part number ‘ABCD-1’ associated with PO number ‘98765’ were installed on to assembly ‘123456’ serial numbers 43 through 95 for project ‘A1B2B3’ lot ‘101’.

(4) A specific part ‘ABCD-1’ associated with PO number ‘98765’ and found in the 85th position on reel number ‘G8H9K7’ from manufacturer ‘Ohsopeachy Semiconductors’, was installed on to assembly ‘123456’ serial number 66666 find number ‘X2’ for project ‘A1B2B3’ lot ‘101’. The part in the 294th position on the same reel was installed on to serial number 77777 find number ‘X3’… and so on.

(5) This requirement applies to serialized assemblies only. The assemblies produced on project ‘A1B2B3’ are not serialized, therefore traceability is not required.

(6) The circuit assemblies I produce on project ‘A1B2B3’ are not serialized, but the end item equipment containing these assemblies is serialized. Therefore, parts need only be tracked to the end item equipment [see item (2) above] .

If one were to poll individuals following this subject, including individual members of the G19CI committee, I speculate one would get a different answer from each of them, including answers other than I describe here.

Referring back to an earlier essay, the purpose of a traceability requirement associated with counterfeit part avoidance crafted by the founding members of SAE G19 was this…

If one could acquire ‘unconsumed’ parts from authorized part suppliers or trace the hand offs of ‘unconsumed’ parts to the original component manufacturer (OCM) implied by marking on the device, packaging, CoCs, pack lists, or other artifacts, then the purchase and use of counterfeit parts would be avoided. I further suggest that the thinking of the original authors of AS5553 was that if one could not confirm this traceability at the ‘point of purchase’, then alternatives were to be considered to avoid the purchase; if the alternatives were not viable, then the lack of traceability called for tests and inspections intended to avoid counterfeits.

For the vast majority of projects, defense contractors and subcontractors have been able to identify, with reasonable accuracy, those products that may contain non-conforming parts without implementing strict and expansive traceability mechanisms.

H Livingston

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