As industry members, industry associations and government agencies work together to develop processes that will increase the identification and seizure of counterfeits, counterfeiters attempt to gear up their technology to stay one step ahead of the law. Components are pulled from e-waste disposal sites throughout Asia, and are then cleaned up and repackaged. Similar to money laundering, the components are sold through a network of companies and through the Internet, so the end buyer has no idea of the origin of the product.
The best rule to follow in order to avoid the acquisition of counterfeit semiconductors is always buy from the original manufacturer or their authorized distributor. But what happens when devices are no longer available from the original manufacturer or its authorized distributors due to end-of-life announcements?
One solution is to work with authorized continuing semiconductor manufacturers that can re-create the device and provide continuing manufacturing services. Recently, a reputable aerospace and electronics manufacturer experienced a critical semiconductor obsolescence scenario. The company needed to outfit 160 military aircraft with a critical semiconductor device — an application-specific integrated circuit in a current loop scheme that decodes internal aircraft safety operations.
Critical to the performance of the aircraft, the semiconductor devices are no longer made by the original semiconductor manufacturer. Without the ability to procure the semiconductor devices through authorized channels, the aerospace and electronics manufacturer was left with few options; either risk buying counterfeit or substandard components through unauthorized sources, redesign the system, or engage with an authorized continuing manufacturer.
After carefully considering the options and the potential impact on its reputation, engineering resources and costs, procurement costs and time-to-market, the aerospace and electronics manufacturer chose to partner with an authorized continuing manufacturer to solve its obsolescence issue.
Utilizing an expansive inventory of wafer-and-die, the continuing semiconductor manufacturer re-created the critical devices, matching the performance characteristics and specifications of the original devices. The continuing manufacturer was able to re-create the semiconductor devices based on a source control drawing; documents, graphs and electronic data from the original manufacturer; and two original device samples.
Without the ability of continuing semiconductor manufacturers to re-engineer critical components, companies would be forced to redesign entire systems or risk purchasing counterfeit/substandard devices. A redesign of an integrated circuit system can potentially cost millions, in addition to a lengthy re-qualification and re-testing process, which would mean innumerable lost hours of development time that could be better spent on creating new products. Continuing semiconductor manufacturers offer a convenient and reliable option, which spares companies from the aforementioned issues intrinsic to pursuing gray market or counterfeit product options. A re-engineered semiconductor is ultimately a fraction of the cost of a re-design, and given the government regulations in place to ensure continuing semiconductor manufacturer integrity, the obvious choice to re-engineer is the only true solution.
About the author:
George Karalias is director of marketing & communications at Rochester Electronics.
You have magically equated DNA tagging with protecting our warfighters. There is no connection here at all. Tagging known good product penalizes the good guys who can ship pure authorized product. Why didn't DLA insist upon tagging non-Authorized product? Doesn't that make more sense? Tag the product that comes from non-Authorized sources. Tag the material that has the highest odds of being counterfeit. Half the counterfeits reported this year are on active product. HALF! There is a huge procurement problem FIRST. If "protect our warfighters" is getting tossed around, go talk to the CM's and DLA themselves about procurement practices trying to squeeze the last dime out of every system. We should all be focused on the biggest problem first - using the Authorized sources FIRST if available. This alone cuts out half the reported counterfeit product in 2012.
Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much. It was I who said that the GEM program was an alternative for "non-available"microcircuits, that's "the fact" as you say.
With regard to the Applied DNA Sciences solution, I am not relying on "hype". I know the facts and suggest to you and your competitors call them, or the DLA, and then tell me it's not worth the money to protect our warfighters.
I am not sure whether I found the article or the comments more interesting. I can say that while at LSI (along with Dan), I was contacted several times by a company, an agency, or DSCC (DLA) needing more parts. When a quote was given, the usual answer was that they would buy salvaged parts because that was cheaper than another wafer run. And yes we were charging a premium ($10K to $100K as most of processes had to be restarted, recreated and re-qualified. Having the assurance of knowing where the part originated can be better than a part with an unknown pedigree? I believe that many of these issues are a result of NOT controlling the supply chain as the article highlights.
You make a very important fact, and it rarely gets implemented well. That is ordering enough spares/repairs capability baked into the funded portion of the program. It's a very difficult program for program managers on long-life programs (20+ years). They are only funded for so many years, but must somehow do all the last time buys to secure enough product. We have seen that the only way for this to change on those types of programs requires a very different mindset at the time of program award.
While the author didn't mention pricing, let's assume your pricing ranges are correct. It can still be significantly cheaper to remanufacture product than redesign and qualify a product.
No oversight at all. Rochester Electronics is well aware of the GEM program and most of the people running it. A part is not "GEM'-ed" and is not available to be "GEM-ed" if it is available by industry. That's a fact. It is only if a part is totally unavailable by an authorized source will the possibility of doing GEM be undertaken.
Regarding your comment about DNA.....Get your facts straight, then come out to talk. Stop quoting the marketing hype and go get a quote for implementation. Figure out how expensive it would be to implement when your part marking is all laser in your current assembly process as it is for many OCM's. Hogwash indeed - ANY part marking strategy mandated onto the OCM's by the 1% market is half-baked at best.
Rochester Electronics is doing something entirely unique here working with the OCM's on our Recreation/Replication strategy. It is an authorized method to get hard-to-get parts like ASICs where the only other choice is to redesign....in a newer technology....and that's not always a good thing to do.
By the way, the GEM program is a good program, but is limited on how far it can go with technology. At some point, having no design archive makes GEMs impossible.
Yippity - your comments show some additional research on your part was needed. Have at it.
It is just simple calculation. Everyone is calculating the risk of failure, in a bicycles, cars and helicopters. Do you believe there are products 100% safe at any possible situation? If I was a victim of such situation, it will be big loss for me, but for manufacturer I am only number on the paper. Busines is cruel, sometime is cheaper to take some bigger risk and buy insurence in case of problems.