AS6171 Counterfeit Detection Methods Standard Finally Released


What you need to know about the newly released AS6171 Counterfeit Test Standard


The Long Awaited AS6171 Counterfeit Test Method Standard has recently been published. After more than 7 years of development, the AS6171 has finally been released and promises to standardize practices across the industry. Many in the industry have been impatiently awaiting its arrival as, until this standards creation, there has not been a detailed procedural document for many of the in depth counterfeit methods currently being deployed in the industry (X-ray, XRF, decapsulation, SEM, SAM, etc.)

The Good News

The AS6171 Counterfeit Test Method Standard will give test engineers a trusted path and standardized guideline to verify an electronic component’s authenticity. This detailed instructional manual was developed by an industry cross section of leading engineers and subject matter experts in their particular fields. The volunteer development team has spent thousands of hours studying and determining the most important tests necessary to assess the authenticity for any given component. The standard answers the following questions:

• How to assess risk based on the application and the origin of the parts?
• What depth of testing should be applied based on the assessed risk?
• What test method should be executed on which type of part?
• How exactly should the test be performed?
• What equipment is necessary?
• How should the test operators be trained to assure proficiency?

The Questionable News

Having these answers is great for many in the industry, but not everyone is excited. There are some contentious issues related to certain aspects of the document. First, is the cost of the tests suggested. Now that this is an official industry standard, many in the industry will make these recommended tests mandatory for their suppliers. The level of engineering expertise and equipment costs to perform the testing is significant. For large companies, that have likely already created counterfeit electronic component test plans on their own, being forced to utilize another procedure may end up being counterproductive and more expensive.
Additionally, there are differing opinions on risk assessment methods to determine when and how to test a product. The risk evaluation tool developed for the AS6171 has had some criticism. If a risk assessment tool is not well designed an organization may pay excessive testing fees to test components destined to play a non-critical role in, for example, a Department of Defense coffee maker. However, of greater concern is, for example, a critical component in an aircraft may not get the proper testing based on the risk tool’s lack of accuracy.

Now that the AS6171 is finally published we can all begin to openly evaluate its value to the industry as well as address the possible pitfalls. The development committee already has a list of edits and additions to add to the next revision and will certainly improve the standard with each generation. This new standard is a compliment to the already existing group of SAE counterfeit mitigation standards (AS5553, AS6081). We can now potentially benefit from additional common language and industry evaluation of standards. Post a comment below to share your thoughts on the release of this AS6171 standard.

For more information on the AS6171 or to buy a copy, visit Keep in mind when purchasing the document, that there is a main document and a “slash sheet” for each test method to explain the procedures in detail. Each slash sheet must be purchased separately.

AERI President to Present on AS6081 at DMSMS 2015 Conference

DMSMS 2015

The DMSMS Conference is a place where the government and its contractors come together to learn best practices for the management of "Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages"  AERI President, Robb Hammond, will be presenting a comprehensive overview of the AS6081 standard, which was created to provide guidelines for independent distributors of electronic components to avoid counterfeits.  The AS6081 standard, and an associated electronic component distributor, are integral pieces of a materials shortage plan.  If you or your company is concerned about the possibility of receiving counterfeit electronic components from your component distributor, AERI can help you come up with a plan to help you mitigate the dangers of a counterfeit escape.  For more information, please contact one of our search experts.  To find out more about the DMSMS 2015 conference, please visit

AS6081 Speech Given by AERI President at SMTA/CALCE Symposium on Counterfeit Electronic Components


This video is a comprehensive overview of the AS6081 standard, which was created to provide guidelines for independent distributors of electronic components to avoid counterfeits.  If you or your company is concerned about the possibility of receiving counterfeit electronic components from your distributor, this video will help guide you in how to utilize AS6081 to  encourage safe buying practices.


Obsolete Electronic Components Help Maintain Long Revenue Stream

Distributors of Obsolete Electronic Components are able to help equipment makers continue to add revenue long after they made the initial sale.  This income is much larger for manufacturers than one might think.  Read to find out more on how to take advantage of this trend here.

AERI President to Speak about AS6081 Standard at CALCE/SMTA Counterfeit Conference


AERI has been integral in the creation of SAE's AS6081 counterfeit avoidance standard and has been chosen to share about its creation, evolution, and current utilization by a AS6081 certified distributor.  The most important conference, specifically geared towards counterfeit electronic components, is the annual SMTA\CALCE  "Symposium on Counterfeit Parts and Materials"  Each year, hundreds of attendees, which include subject matter experts, government representatives, prime contractors, and original equipment manufacturers come together to share and learn more about the most alarming issue facing the electronic component industry.  Please join us at this essential counterfeit conference June 23-25th.  For more easy to understand information on how all of the counterfeit standards work together and why each one is significant, please click here.

Confused which counterfeit standard is which? AS5553, AS6081, AS6171, AS6496, ISO17025, AS!~@# !!

SAECounterfeit electronic components have caused many ripples in the electronics industry.  One method of tackling the problem has been to create standards to deal with it.  There are so many counterfeit avoidance documents now that it is getting hard to keep track of all of them.  SAE, through their G19 committee, has created the most widely accepted counterfeit avoidance standards.  This article is a general overview of all of their standards, and related documents, to help you make sense of it all.

It all begins with some end customer, the government or private entity, placing requirements on their subcontractor to have a counterfeit mitigation plan in place.  SAE’s G19 committee has almost completed it’s suite of standards that will take this requirement from the original contractor all the way down to the company purchasing the components from the open market for electronic components.

How this plays out;

An OEM that is concerned with, or is required to mitigate the risk of counterfeits, can adopt and become certified to AS5553, which will guide them on methods to avoid and detect counterfeits (see more on AS5553).  A sister standard, AS6081 was created for independent distributors to comply with an AS5553 compliant manufacturer’s requirements, making the two standards complimentary (see more on AS6081).  The AS6171, which is soon to be published, will provide detailed risk evaluation instructions, as well as more detailed instructions on how to test electronic components for authenticity (see more on AS6171).  The ISO/IEC 17025 standard is used for accrediting test facilities, such as those performing the tests prescribed in AS6171.  An accreditation confirms that the test lab and their staff have the proper equipment and training to be able to perform specific tests (see more on ISO17025).  The next revision of AS6081 will point to AS6171 for the required product verification tests as opposed to the current procedures within AS6081, which will then wrap all four of these documents together.

AS5553 OEM <buys from> AS6081 disty <accredited to> ISO17025 <to test specs> AS6171

Another counterfeit electronic component standard that has been added to the mix is the AS6496, which was created for Authorized Distribution, and primarily utilized for the return of product from their customers.  SAE’s G19 committee has been working very hard to create all of these great documents.  For more information please contact your AERI search expert for help or they can put you in touch with someone within our organization who has actually been heavily involved in the G19 committee.

General Overview of ISO/IEC 17025 in Relation to AS6081 for Counterfeit Avoidance

ISO logoThe ISO/IEC 17025 specifies the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling.  So how exactly does this apply to the suite of SAE G19 counterfeit avoidance standards?  Within the verification of product process in the SAE G19 standards (AS6081, AS6171, AS6496, and AS5553) there are many different tests required in an attempt to verify a part’s authenticity.  To assure that the lab and their technicians are competent in the required counterfeit detection techniques and how to use the associated equipment, labs will soon be required to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025.  Currently there are very few specific instructions on how to use the equipment for counterfeit detection in the published G19 standards.  The yet to be released draft revision of AS6081, Fraudulent/Counterfeit Electronic Parts: Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition, created for independent distributors, is now pointing directly to the AS6171, Test Methods Standard; General Requirements, Suspect/Counterfeit, Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Parts for instructions on how to verify the authenticity of electronic components.  Therefore, in the very near future you will see that for an independent distributor to be certified to AS6081, they will first need to be ISO/IEC 17025 accredited to demonstrate that they are able to perform the counterfeit detection tests necessary.   A certified distributor may alternatively subcontract the work to a lab that is accredited.

To buy a copy of the ISO/IEC 17025 or find more information on the standard click buy ISO/IEC 17025

General Overview of the AS5553 – OEM Procedures for Counterfeit Avoidance

SAEThe AS5553 was developed by a committee of government and industry quality experts under the guidance of SAE International.  Its full title is AS5553 Counterfeit Electronic Parts; Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition.  The standard was created to help electronic equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) create procedures to avoid counterfeits being installed in their products.  The Department of Defense adopted it soon after its initial release in 2009.  Subsequently, its language and flow downs began to appear on government contracts.  This effect soon led to the need for independent distributors to be on the same page as OEM’s.  In order to help that effort, the same working group, SAE G19, began creating the AS6081, specifically designed for independent distributors.

The AS5553 is currently undergoing changes to its second revision, AS5553b.  One significant and contentious modification, that appears to be staying, is the removal of the appendices, which were original designed for guidance.  The information in the current appendices is planned to be provided in a secondary document in order to make it clear that the guidance information is not to be treated as mandatory by auditors.

The AS5553 is a great document for your organization if you are a manufacturer of equipment and you need guidance on how to avoid counterfeit electronic components from inclusion in your products.  Once adopting it within your quality standard, one of the steps that would help a company to comply would be to utilize an AS6081 distributor for all of their purchases of obsolete or hard-to-find electronic components.

For detailed information on how the AS5553 fits in among all of the other SAE G19 standards (AS6171, AS6081, etc.) on counterfeit electronic components, please see this diagram standards gap analysis.  To buy a copy of the AS5553, please click buy AS5553.

General Overview of the AS6171 Testing for Counterfeit Electronics

SAEThe AS6171 was developed by a committee of government and industry subject matter experts under the guidance of SAE International.  Its full title is AS6171 Test Methods Standard; General Requirements, Suspect/Counterfeit, Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Parts.  Its purpose is to create a way to evaluate risk and then use the calculated risk to choose appropriate test methods for particular product groups, which are clearly defined within the document.  Its release has been long awaited due to the fact that both government and industry are looking for solid guidance on how to effectively perform risk evaluation and authenticity testing of electronic components.  The standard is planned to be released before the end of 2015.  In its anticipation, other standards, such as the AS6081, developed for independent distribution, are already referencing its utilization in their draft documents.

The AS6171 will be a great standard for your organization if you are looking for vetted test methods to either utilize within your own company or subcontract out to a lab or independent distributor with an in-house lab.

For detailed information on how the AS6171 fits in among all of the other SAE G19 standards (AS5553, AS6081, etc.) on counterfeit electronic components, please see this diagram standards gap analysis.

Customs & Border Protection Detaining and Confiscating Suspect Counterfeits

cbpThere are a lot of questions about how the US Customs and Border Protection Agency detains and confiscates products.  We were fortunate to meet with the Deputy Director of Trade and found out a few answers, but we still can’t say exactly what they are doing there.  That may just be how they prefer it.  Here are some answers that were helpful to us in understanding their current process for inspecting electronic components;

  • They have 10 different industry specializations, one of which is their Center of Excellence for Consumer Electronics and Semiconductors.
  • The companies who import items that are confiscated, as well as their overseas suppliers, are subsequently targeted for increased inspections and detentions.
  • They are using many of the standard methods internally for authentication of semiconductors (acetone swipe, country of origin consistent, date codes, lot codes, etc.)
  • They have recently invested in a counterfeit detection lab consisting of microscopes, X-ray and decapsulation equipment.
  • They contact the manufacturers of the product and often send them samples for verification.  They say that if manufacturers are not being completely forthright on their evaluations, they have ways to make them accountable for their lack of goodwill cooperation.  The reason this is so important is because it would be really easy for manufacturers to just say everything is suspect counterfeit if it is not coming from one of their authorized distributors.  Then authentic parts would get confiscated all the time.
  • Their agents still do not have bag sealing equipment to keep moisture sensitive parts dry nor do they have a good way to strap trays to keep the parts from getting damaged during further transit.  Our team has given the deputy director some tips on what to use for strapping and sealing components, but the cost seemed to be the hurdle stopping them from improving their process.  We have been a victim of damaged parts on a small scale due to this lack of proper packaging procedures, but there have been larger cases outside of AERI in which expensive parts have been made unusable.
  •  There is a program in place for an agent to detain and confiscate parts if a US buyer suspects parts of being counterfeit.
  •  If you do have inexpensive parts confiscated which you do not plan to fight for, it is wise to send a letter explaining that you are not going to argue with their results, and be sure to include what actions you plan to take to avoid getting counterfeits sent to you in the future.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised that the agency has been making big improvements, but they still have a little ways to go.  At the rate they are going it seems like they will be able to solve some of the remaining problems soon, with the help of constructive criticism coming from importers.