Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1343
2019-03-19

A Blockchain-Backed Database for Qualified Parts 2019-01-1343

Certain standard parts in the aerospace industry require qualification as a prerequisite to manufacturing, signifying that the manufacturer’s capacity to produce parts consistent with the performance specifications has been audited by a neutral third-party auditor, key customer, and/or group of customers. In at least some cases, a certifying authority provides manufacturers with certificates of qualification which they can then present to prospective customers, and/or lists qualified suppliers in a Qualified Parts List or Qualified Supplier List available from that qualification authority. If this list is in an infrequently updated and/or inconsistently styled format as might be found in a print or PDF document, potential customers wishing to integrate qualification information into their supplier tracking systems must use a potentially error-prone manual process that could lead to later reliance on out-of-date or even forged data. This paper proposes a blockchain-backed database for such applications, facilitating integration with integrators’ electronic systems including near real-time data updates and a reliable audit trail of changes, certificates that provide more reliable signals of data integrity, and a better user interface with enhanced search capabilities. Though piloted with some centralized control related to the centralized issuance of qualifications, the paper describes how blockchain technology in this application could allow a consortium of companies to manage such a database in a decentralized structure like a decentralized autonomous organization. The proposed database also introduces generalizable data structures which can lend powerful dynamism to other data stores in domains with similar data structures or challenges. This paper describes an example implementation converting the TS200 Qualified Manufacturers List to a blockchain-backed database with search and administrative interfaces. The paper further discusses practical challenges associated with implementing such a database and future directions for additional capabilities.

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