October 4, 2022 1:01 pm
HOW TO SPOT COUNTERFEIT ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS

Counterfeit electronic components are electronic components that are misleading in terms of their origin, origin or quality. It is possible to counterfeit a certain electronic component and potentially violate trademark licensing rights.

 

Counterfeit parts are often of lower specification and quality. They can constitute a hazard in a critical system such as the navigation and survival equipment of an aircraft or space vehicle. Selling electronic components in the consumer market allows counterfeiters to easily introduce shoddy products and imitations into the market.

 

The global chip shortage has impacted our lives more than you might think, and it’s not just due to low supply. One of the main reasons is very high demand. Demand for electronic products that use microchips such as computers, smartphones, tablets and even vehicles has exploded in recent months.

 

Increasing demand from legitimate distributors, manufacturers, suppliers and other businesses has fueled increased activity of counterfeit components.

 

Due to the increasing demand for such products, criminals have more opportunities to sell these counterfeit chips with less risk of detection.

Why this matters 

Imagine a defibrillator sending incorrect high voltage electric shocks to a patient? How about a missile made of counterfeit parts was launched and missed its target?

The counterfeit electronic parts industry is a 75 Billion dollar money machine. Counterfeit parts are said to be integrated into 169 billion dollars worth of electronic devices. The fake semi industry has

infiltrated many markets, disrupted operations of component manufacturers, and has been a supply chain problem for a while now.

In a WSJ report, counterfeit parts are found about three times a year. In 2010, the U.S. military bought an astounding 59,000 counterfeit chips, counterfeit electronic parts, and integrated circuits. Limited resources and poor quality control measures resulted in the defense industry finding fake chips seven times in five years.

5 Techniques to Identify Counterfeit Parts

Visual inspection is not enough.

  1. Read the Label

Have you seen a genuine chip before? If you aren’t working in the semiconductor industry, likely, you don’t. These semiconductors are usually so small that it’s hard to see the spec parts on them.

Legitimate, high-quality electronic components have clear part numbers and clear markings that can validate their authenticity. Counterfeits upon inspection will have a compromised surface, a grainy part number, and other incorrect information that will need further inspection.

Counterfeits are unlikely to impact the giants of the industry who bought their components directly from chips foundries. These fake electronic components are felt more by companies acquiring parts from distributors at any point down the supply chain.

  1. Do an X-Ray Inspection

Doing an x-ray inspection on electronic components will show you what’s under the hood so you can identify a real one from a fake.

Here are the signs to look for:

  • Missing or inconsistent die sizes
  • Mismatched part numbers and date codes
  • Broken or missing wire bonds
  • Visible Delamination
  • Inconsistent indents
  1. Use a Scanning Acoustic Microscope

 

It might sound over the top but using a Scanning Acoustic Microscope (SAM) is the best way to find laser etching under blacktopping. Once etching is found, resurfacing was likely do to replace the original markings.

Of course, you can use acetone wash, but that method pretty much destroys the counterfeit chip it’s using on, thus preventing you from using it if it passes inspection.

  1. Look for Signs of Resurfacing

 

Counterfeiters are becoming quite good at avoiding detection these days. One of the most common techniques for creating counterfeit chips is a “resurfacing” technique call blacktopping.

They sand off the original markings and put on a polymer coat also to cover up the effects of the sanding. Sometimes, however, there are noticeable signs of blacktopping. For example, indents on the chip may be partially coveres with the polymer.

  1. Be on the Lookout for Physical Deformities

To make money, many counterfeiters use cannibalized parts from scrap electronics and sell them as new. Physical wear and tear will be visible on the material upon visual inspection.

Counterfeit components have bent leads and pins, unnecessary markings on the surface, and scuff marks on the corners. So these visual cues on the surface or the use of a magnifying lens will help you determine if the electronic component is legitimate or not.

For more electronics industry news, please visit easybom

 

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