You’ve just acquired an electronic chip. At first glance, it looks like the real deal. But to the properly trained eye, there is something off with the product. The fonts are different, the surface looks like it was coated with polymer, and the wiring is inconsistent. Chances are you’ve acquired a suspect counterfeit part.
What is a suspect counterfeit part? According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, a “suspect counterfeit” is an electronic part for which credible evidence – either via visual inspection or testing – provides reasonable doubt that the electronic part is authentic.
A “counterfeit” component is an unauthorized copy, imitation, substitute or modified part, which is knowingly, recklessly, or negligently misrepresented as a specified genuine part of an authorized manufacturer, or misrepresented as new, as defined in the SAE AS6171: Test Methods Standard, General Requirements, Suspect/Counterfeit, Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Parts.
The Villain to Your Supply Chain
Suspect counterfeits and counterfeit electronic components are a bane to supply chains, manufacturers and distributors. Much like a villain wreaks pain and havoc to the hero – suspect counterfeits and counterfeits do the same to your business – in the form of increased costs, revenue loss, damage to your brand, product performance and malfunction or worse, total failure. That’s a devastating blow.
While regulations have been issued to prevent counterfeits and suspect counterfeits from infiltrating the market, some counterfeit parts can be so deceptive, they can slip through the cracks.
According to a 2019 report from the ERAI Inc., a global information services organization that monitors, investigates, and reports issues affecting the global electronics supply chain, there were a total of 66.91% of parts that were reported to be nonconforming, suspect counterfeit, or counterfeit parts sold by companies not located in China.
Counterfeit types include parts that are cloned, remarked or re-topped, devices that have been refurbished, displays forged documentation or rejected by the manufacturer.
Be the Hero
But despite this, there are ways to beat the bad guys. Look for a distributor with a strong quality management and counterfeit mitigation program in place, to ensure you receive authentic electronic components.
The program should involve assessing the perceived levels of the component and application risk; detecting and mitigating the risk; controlling and reporting on any substandard, fraudulent part; and implementing solutions to preserve the integrity of your supply chain needs.