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Honeywell uses blockchain for aircraft spare parts


A few months ago the Linux Foundation announced that Honeywell was one of Hyperledger’s latest new members. Last month Honeywell unveiled one of its first blockchain initiatives for aircraft parts. The company launched a new e-commerce initiative GoDirect Trade for the aviation parts industry. For the new platform, Honeywell is leveraging blockchain to verify that the quality documents and images match the specific part offered for sale.

Blockchain’s ability to store the history of a part and its certification is the appeal for the aerospace sector.

While e-commerce might seem like old hat, it’s not widespread in aerospace. “Currently, less than 2.5 percent of all transactions in this space are done online,” said Lisa Butters, who heads up the new Honeywell Aerospace venture. “Up until now, the ability to shop for spare parts online with prices, product images and quality documentation all in one place was unheard of for the aviation industry.”

The company has an existing business Honeywell Aerospace Trading (HAT) which sells pre-owned certified parts, not just Honeywell products. The new e-commerce platform takes it a step further enabling buyers and sellers to communicate directly.

Honeywell is a major player in aerospace with $14.7 billion of aerospace revenue in 2017 representing 36.5% of Honeywell’s total revenue and 41% of segment profits. It produces wheels and braking systems as well as engines, but also much of the higher tech aspects of aircraft. This includes microelectronics, cockpit systems, sensors, weather radar and satellite communications.

High blockchain adoption in aerospace

Last year Accenture published research that showed that 86% of aerospace or defense companies expect to adopt blockchain into their systems by 2021. Six months ago at England’s Farnborough Air Show Accenture and Thales demonstrated a new blockchain prototype. The solution aims to track, trace and authenticate aircraft parts.

The airline industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA) cited spare parts tracking as an important application in a recent whitepaper on blockchain. And the US Navy is exploring blockchain to track parts working with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO).