September 2, 2014

How to Recognize Fraudulent and Counterfeit Electronic Parts

Counterfeit electronic parts and components have become a serious issue for the electronics industry. Counterfeit components are devices that are intentionally misrepresented as authentic. They are marked or re- marked as something they are not. The counterfeit category also includes components that have been previously used and are sold as new devices. A more precise definition goes like this: A counterfeit component is a device made or altered to resemble an authentic part with the intent to mislead or defraud by presenting the imitation as original or genuine.

These unreliable and fraudulent parts not only can cause significant inconveniences when an electronic part fails, but they can also have a negative economic impact on the companies that produce the products. Since counterfeit components often have inferior specifications and quality, they represent a serious hazard if they are incorporated into critical systems such as aircraft navigation, military equipment, space vehicles or life support. This video will introduce you to counterfeit components ­ and explain how they make their way into the supply chain and why they have become a major problem for the electronics industry.

Dealing with the risks of counterfeit components fall into four categories ­ avoidance, mitigation, detection and disposition. We’ve described how avoidance and mitigation can be largely achieved only by purchasing components from the authorized market. In other words, devices that are produced by the OCM. Since that is not always possible, companies need to have systems in place to detect substandard and counterfeit parts. That means awareness and detection training for every technician.

Mitigation involves analyzing and creating a plan on how to reduce the risk of having substandard or counterfeit components in the assemblies and equipment that your company produces. The last category is disposition ­ which has to do with reporting substandard components that have been identified so that other companies can be on the lookout for them. It is also about flagging those open market distributors who supplied the components.

Finally, it’s about disposing of these fraudulent components. It’s better to destroy the counterfeit components, rather than send them back to the supplier where they can be sold again on the open market. The point is to ensure that the counterfeit parts DO NOT re-enter the supply line.

Counterfeit electronic parts detection

The following IPC  training video DVD-166C  presents many of the details and techniques involved in detecting counterfeit parts that find their way into the electronics assembly supply chain. You will be introduced to the economic realities that have resulted in the growth of counterfeit components in our industry ­ and why it’s important to catch these substandard components before they’re assembled into your customer’s equipment. This video discusses the most common methods for detecting counterfeit components ­ including visual indicators and high-tech machine analysis. It also explains the importance of a technician detecting and documenting the characteristics of a suspicious component ­ coupled with a referee’s disposition of the substandard part. Putting this knowledge to use can make a huge difference in the reliability of your company’s product and your company’s reputation and profitability.

Counterfeit Electronic PartsDetails of the new DVD and ordering information can be found on Publications’ web site: DVD-166C Counterfeit Components.





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