AS6081 Revision A Q&A
Question: My organization currently requires our independent distributors to authenticate EEE components sourced from open market, or unknown sources, based on the test methods defined in AS6081. Do we need to change our flow-down?
Answer: AS6081A, which supersedes the prior version of AS6081, eliminates AS6081 specific test methods and now specifies the test methods as defined in AS6171. If your organization is flowing down inspection and test requirements as part of AS6081A, the only test and inspection methods referenced by the AS6081 standard are defined in AS6171.
Question: Does that mean that my organization needs to flow down the test methods specified in AS6171 to be compliant?
Answer: If your contract is with the U.S. Department of Defense, the answer is most likely yes. DFARS requires Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) covered contractors to establish and maintain an acceptable counterfeit electronic part detection and avoidance system including inspection and testing of EEE parts. All contractors are responsible for inspection and testing when they obtain parts of questionable provenance; this is what is provided by AS6171.
Question: What is the effective date for AS6081A?
Answer: AS6081A, released in April 2023, supersedes the prior version of AS6081. At the point where the updated standard was released, the old version of AS6081 became obsolete.
Question: Does this mean that the AS6081 standard is being replaced by AS6171?
Answer: No. The AS6081A standard is the correct standard to flow down to independent distributors that are procuring EEE parts from the open market. The change means that the testing methods defined in your AS6081A flow-down are now provided by AS6171. It’s also important to note that you do not have to flow down test methods in AS6081A, for example, if you are contracting with a separate test house to perform your authentication.
Question: The independent distributor, or broker, my organization usesstill performs authentication based on the test methods of the previous version of AS6081. Is this still a valid authentication methodology?
Answer: Any effort made to mitigate counterfeit EEE parts is better than doing nothing. This includes measures such as visual inspection of parts, a robust vetting process for sourcing parts, radiological inspection, functional testing, and many more. While the term valid can imply many things, it is safe to state that performing testing and inspection based on the previous version of AS6081 is a good methodology for counterfeit mitigation but not as robust or up-to-date as the methods in AS6171. There are many enhancements in the AS6171 testing methods to address the increasing complexity of EEE counterfeit parts, and performing testing in accordance with the test methods in the prior version of AS6081 is no longer included in the AS6081A standard. If your organization requires alignment with the standard, which is there to ensure the test methods are reasonably aligned with your organization’s overall risk assessment, then your organization should have a plan that is based on the methods defined in AS6171. Additionally, AS6171 is increasingly being mandated by government and industry organizations so it is only a matter of time before most organizations will have to adopt these test methods.