One of the concerns around the electronics industry that has grown throughout the years is, Counterfeit Electronic Components. This has become an issue because parts can appear to have a legitimate label from a known manufacture of electronic components and pass an initial inspection. You could in fact have a counterfeit component without knowing it. If you take a closer look you can see some differences of actual manufactured parts and counterfeited parts. Also, one other thing that has made it harder to detect is that legitimate manufactures can also produce counterfeit components. Which is why this has become a global epidemic.
How some legitimate manufacturers are counterfeiting
Manufacturers can have illegal shifts operating at the manufacturing plants. Meaning manufacturers can have an after-hours shift that use sub-standard materials and then be processed by unqualified technicians and engineers. When this occurs the sub-standard parts can be sold at a cheaper price because they used sub-standard materials and quality control. This can lead to all kinds of problems. During incoming inspection one cannot observe if they have received a cheaper or sub-standard material component.
If it can’t be identified as a counterfeit part at incoming inspection, then the parts are deemed good and allowed to go into the production process. The part may not fail during functional testing of the final product but parts could have a much reduced life expectancy than a genuine non counterfeit part. If this occurs it can lead to parts failing in the field generating much higher costs for analysis and rework, leaving headaches for everyone.
Other areas where problems can occur are during the reflow and mounting of the components. Counterfeit parts might display inferior wetting characteristics leading to soldering issues or they may fail electrically affecting other components around them.
As a manufacturer it is hard to know if your parts are being counterfeited and sold in the industry. When counterfeit components began to become an issue Venkel implemented a way to help limit the effects of counterfeit components being passed off as Venkel product.
What is Venkel doing you ask?
Venkel generated a watermark on our label to help customers identify if a product is genuine Venkel product. This was implemented in late 2013. All Venkel products manufactured from that time forward should and will contain a watermark label.
To learn more about how counterfeit components have affected the electronics industry, have a look at our Counterfeit Components Infographic. Topics covered:
- Applications where counterfeit components can be found
- Why are they a problem?
- Top commonly counterfeited parts
- How parts are counterfeited
- How legitimate manufactures counterfeit
- Top counterfeit markets
- Avoidance strategies