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Material validation and part authentication process using hardness indentations with robotic arm implementation




Weinmann, Katrina J., author
Simske, Steve, advisor
Chen, Thomas, committee member
Ma, Kaka, committee member
Zhao, Jianguo, committee member

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In today's global economy, there are many levels of validation and authentication which must occur during manufacturing and distribution processes to ensure sufficient cyber-physical security of parts. This includes material inspection and validation during manufacturing, a method of track-and-trace for the entire supply chain, and individual forensic authentication of parts to prevent counterfeiting at any point in the manufacturing or distribution process. Traditionally, each level of validation or authentication is achieved through a separate step in the manufacturing or distribution process. In this work, a process is presented that uses hardness testing and the resulting indentations to simultaneously provide three critical functions for part validation and authentication: (i) material property validation and material property mapping achieved by administering multiple hardness tests over a given area on the part, (ii) part serialization that can be used for track-and-trace through administering hardness tests in a specific 'barcode' pattern, and (iii) the opportunity for forensic-level authentication through use of high-resolution images of the indents. Additionally, a fourth manufacturing advantage is gained in the provision of improved bonding potential for adhesive joints provided by the increase in surface area and surface roughness resulting from the addition of indents to the adherend surface. A methodology for implementing this process using a robotic arm with an end-effector-mounted portable hardness tester is presented. Implementation using a robotic arm allows a high degree of customizability of the process without changes in setup, making this process ideal for additive manufactured parts, which are often custom or low-batch and require a higher level of material validation. As a whole, this work presents a highly-customizable, single-step process that provides multi-level quality control, validation, authentication, and cyber-physical security of parts throughout the manufacturing and distribution processes


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material validation
hardness testing
additive manufacturing


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