According to IHS, the issue of counterfeit parts is sometimes neglected amid the strain required to keep production lines up and running. But companies that fail to pay attention to the issue face a range of risks, IHS said. A 2009 survey conducted by the firm showed that electronics buyers have an array of concerns.
While buyers in the defense and aerospace industries are concerned about failures in aircraft safety and compromises to systems that are critical to national security, while buyers for commercial electronics firms worry about damage to company image, erosion in customer trust and loss of revenue and increasing risk of legal action, IHS said.
"To reduce counterfeit incidents, electronics buyers strive to restrict their purchasing activities to their customary supply chains, sourcing parts directly from their suppliers or from franchised distributors," Pierson said.
But Pierson acknowledged that the mandate for electronics makers is to keep their production lines running at all costs. To do this, they are sometimes forced to go outside of the supply chain to get parts, particularly in times of rising demand and short component supplies. Even franchised distributors sometimes buy excess inventory from other companies that could introduce counterfeit parts to the supply chain, Pierson said.
IHS recommends that electronics buyers develop a plan to ensure continuity of supply in order to mitigate the counterfeit problem. Such plans, similar to companies’ contingency preparations for disasters, require firms to update their listing of suppliers, parts/materials, life cycles, logistics and internal operations, IHS said.
Counterfeits can be original parts that were scavenged from e-waste and remarked. In many cases, the counterfeit part is real, but its life history is unknown - That is, reliability suspect. It gets even worse.
If you have not actually seen details of what counterfeiters actually do -- I highly recommend finding a paper, a class or attending the next DMSMS meeting (Google DMSMS 2012).
BTW, this has been going on for over 30 years that I've been a degreed Engineer. The sophistication of counterfeiters and awareness are the only things that have changed.
The old empty parts are easy to find. Extensive electrical testing may be necessary to find false upgrades or used parts (and even then it may not be possible to tell electrically until premature failure start showing up). ESD walking wounded -- almost guaranteed.
How about counterfeit drugs and even pressure bandages? If you can sell it, itís being counterfeited!
Are counterfeit chips getting any better as increased effort is directed to detecting them? I could imagine the possibility that eventually high quality "generic" chips that rob intellectual property owners of their proper revenues might emerge. Creative "generic" vendors might even shadow product recalls by the legitimate suppliers. Special techniques may be needed to find fully functional high quality "generic" chips. Finding the "fake" / mislabeled / non-functional chips is easy in comparison.
Usually you receive a sample quantity to verify the integrity of the supplier, these chips are authentic chips. But when the large orders are placed, chips arrive with the same form factor just nothing inside. Empty shells of BGA's, SOTs anything. Usually simple components don't offer enough margin to bother counter fitting. The fact that you actually get a component that looks like the one you should have is the problem, because then they are signed for an money is handed over.
It's hard enough to fab and get decent yields when you are the rightful owner of the right to fab the parts. This counterfeiting can't be for anything more than simple components, no? What do the counterfeiters do - steal the golden GDSII? Reverse engineer the entire circuit and layout?
The only solution to protect against counterfeits is to have 100% traceability and accountability of everything used in a product right from the manufacturer to distributor to retailer to the shop floor to the finished goods thru out the life cycle of the product right up to a stage when the product is scrapped.
if you make a party accountable for the damages then such infiltration of counterfeit parts will automatically have a check
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.