James Bond 007 Would Love this Anti-Counterfeiting Technology

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(DGIwire) — Anyone remember what James Bond drove? It was an Aston Martin, of course—a super-sporty DB-5. The sleek and sexy Aston symbolized, well, exactly what Bond himself stood for: British pride, power and above all, flawless operation.

Largely, despite several dizzying changes in management since the Bond days, including in 2013 losing at least one member of its extraordinary engineering staff to Tesla, Aston retained the image.

Then, as reported by Automotive News, on February 5th of this year, Aston Martin was forced to recall 17,590 vehicles that had been sold since 2007. The reason? A potentially defective counterfeit pedal arm, sourced from a plant in China.

For any automaker, this is serious. It’s not so much the $2.3 million estimated cost of the recall, but rather about reputation. The next time its well-heeled customers go to buy, will it be an Aston again, or a Ferrari or Porsche?

How did this happen, particularly in a company that prizes quality? Here is Aston’s own explanation as presented to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “Initial tests on the failed pedal arm have shown that [the supplier] used counterfeit material, which was received [by them] in bags labelled as DuPont PA6 material [The correct material for this part].”

The bags were labeled correctly; but the actual parts were not correct at all.

So here’s where it gets interesting. The real story here is not about a particular company. Notice that the company supplying the counterfeits was not the immediate source for Aston but at least one level down from the immediate supplier—buried fairly deeply in the supply chain.

That is why many experts, perhaps counterintuitively, are not pointing fingers at Aston. Instead the real villain, they say, is the global complexity of the 21st-century supply chain—something companies and technologies are just catching up with.

Says Dr. James A. Hayward, CEO and President of Applied DNA Sciences, a company that offers counterfeit mitigation technologies: “Today’s supply systems, are under attack. The invasion of counterfeits at the current phenomenally high levels, is relatively new. Companies’ processes and technologies are just now catching up.”

Hayward should know. His company provides a counterfeit prevention platform, based on a DNA biotechnology, that is required by an agency of the Department of Defense for certain electronic parts. Applied DNA Sciences has also recently opened massive operations to protect textiles against counterfeits, marking 50,000,000 kg of raw cotton fiber under the sponsorship of an industry association, Supima.

Applied DNA Sciences’ solution is to supply companies with a platform that includes a unique plant DNA-based mark that certifies that the part is original. A part can be easily monitored along its entire supply chain.

“We hate that many of the best-engineered companies in the world are being blindsided by the wave of counterfeits pushed along by a complicated and opaque supply system,” says Hayward. “The good news is, we can help.”

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