Protomatic Works to Eliminate Counterfeit Materials

Counterfeiting is about more than money

When we think of counterfeiting, we think of coins and currency. Sometimes name brand watches or handbags. Whatever the product, counterfeiting “rips off” a customer by recreating a high value item.

Unfortunately, the aerospace and medical industries are not immune. Electronic parts have been removed from old equipment and remarked. Nut-plates and fasteners have been removed from equipment, then refinished and sold as new.

As a safeguard, measures have been put in place to minimize the risk of counterfeiting.

Training and Reporting

Counterfeit material procedures relating to parts in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as the defense industry supply chain, have been initiated. The goal is to increase awareness and develop countermeasures and solutions. Additionally, training on the management of part obsolescence is incorporated into the standards and procedures.

The purpose of these procedures is to document avoidance, detection, mitigation, and disposition processes; and to prevent counterfeit parts and/or materials from entering supply streams. This enables Protomatic to fulfill our customers’ requirements by using only top-grade materials/parts.

The benefits

By establishing and documenting counterfeit-parts risk mitigation methods, we are able to:

  1. Maximize the availability of authentic parts
  2. Procure parts from reliable sources
  3. Avoid/mitigate the risks associated with procuring parts from independent distributors or brokers
  4. Assure authenticity and conformance of procured parts
  5. Control parts identified as counterfeit
  6. Report counterfeit parts to other potential users and government investigative authorities

When a product is reported as “suspect counterfeit,” it starts an investigation at the GIDEP Operations Center, which uses DLA Handbook H2/H6 for guidance.

Standards Guidance

Procedures are developed in support of customer requirements, AS5553 (Counterfeit Electronic Parts; Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition), and AS6174 (Counterfeit Material; Assuring Acquisition of Authentic and Conforming Material).

For more information, download the standards or contact Doug Wetzel at

Keeping counterfeit parts and materials out of the supply chain is essential to providing life-saving precision to our customers. Protomatic is taking the steps needed to ensure its parts are authentic.

About the author: Doug Wetzel is Vice President and General Manager of Protomatic. Protomatic is a CNC precision machining shop specializing in prototype and short-run production components for the medical, aerospace and other technical industries. Because of the critical nature of the parts they design and manufacture, the emphasis is always on Life-Saving Precision.