Detect fake parts with additive manufacturing – Zoo House News

Detect fake parts with additive manufacturing – Zoo House News

  • Science
  • January 2, 2023
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Ensuring that manufactured goods and components have not been illegally copied and substituted with counterfeit goods is a primary concern of the manufacturing and defense industries in the United States and around the world.

A potential solution would have far-reaching implications and implications in areas ranging from improving biomedical implants to protecting national defences.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a method of embossing a hidden magnetic tag encoded with authentication information into manufactured hardware during the part manufacturing process. The revolutionary process has the potential to make counterfeit goods easier to detect by replacing physical labels – like barcodes or QR (Quick Response) codes – with these hidden magnetic labels that serve as a permanent and unique identifier.

The project, entitled “Embedded Information in Additively Manufactured Metals via Composition Gradients for Anti-Counterfeiting and Supply Chain Traceability,” is a faculty partner project supported by the SecureAmerica Institute. It includes researchers from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M. The team recently published their research in the journal Additive Manufacturing.

The project’s faculty researchers include Ibrahim Karaman, Chevron Professor I and Department Head, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Raymundo Arroyave, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Excellence to the Segers Family Dean; and Richard Malak, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Career Development at Gulf Oil/Thomas A. Dietz. Alongside faculty, Daniel Salas Mula, a researcher at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, and graduate student Deniz Ebeperi – both members of Karaman’s research group – have been working on the project. The team also worked with Jitesh Panchal, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Ensuring security and reliable authentication in manufacturing is a major national concern as the US invests billions of dollars in manufacturing. Without such a readily available method, it can be almost impossible to distinguish an authentic part or component from its counterfeit copy, which can even be made much cheaper – albeit perhaps of lower quality,” Karaman said. “Sometimes they even carry the same brand name, so how do you make sure this item isn’t yours? [The embedded magnetic tag] gives us the opportunity and a new tool to ensure we can protect our defense and manufacturing industries.”

The team implements metal additive manufacturing techniques to achieve their goal of successfully embedding readable magnetic labels into metal parts without compromising performance or durability. The researchers used 3D printing to embed these magnetic tags under the surface in non-magnetic steel fittings.

Other uses for this method include traceability, quality control, and more, largely depending on the industry in which it is used.

Once embedded in a non-magnetic object, the magnetic tag is readable with a magnetic sensing device – such as a smartphone – by scanning it near the right place on the product, allowing the user to access the labeled information.

While there are other methods of imprinting information, they primarily require sophisticated and expensive equipment that poses a barrier to real-world implementation.

“Different approaches have been used to try to locally alter the properties of the metals during the manufacturing process to codify information within the part,” said Salas Mula. “This is the first time magnetic properties of the material have been used in this way to infuse information into a non-magnetic part, particularly for metal 3D printing.”

Ebeperi said that to map the part’s magnetic reading, the team developed a custom three-axis magnetic sensor capable of mapping the surface and revealing the areas where the embedded magnetic tag was accessible.

Although the system is more secure than a physical tag or code found on the outside of an item, the team is still working to improve the complexity of the method’s security.

As the project moves forward, Karaman said, next steps include developing a more secure way of reading the information, perhaps by implementing physical “dual authentication,” which requires the user to apply a specific treatment or stimulus to gain access to unlock the magnetic label .

story source:

Materials provided by Texas A&M University. Originally written by Steve Kuhlman. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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