Electronics are delicate and the smallest faults in one component could damage the whole system. Counterfeit electronic components can lead to warranty issues, injuries, and lawsuits. It is paramount to ensure that the electronic components used are not counterfeit.
There are some complex methods you can use to check for authenticity but you can also perform a few quick visual tests to ascertain the possibility of counterfeit components. These visual tests are performed with a microscope with at least 30x magnification. Here are some of the things to check for:
- Typos on manufacturer labels. An authentic component will have perfect spelling, so one without is highly suspicious.
- The date codes on the label and the parts should be the same. If they are not, the counterfeits may have been added on later, and hence the reason for mismatched dates.
- Components big enough will display countries of origins. A part with the same lot code can’t be manufactured in separate countries.
- Compare the size and shape of the indents on the parts from the same lot. Every electronic component from a genuine manufacturer will always have the indents in the same spot and be of the same size. Counterfeiters usually have difficulty with consistency.
- Compare the markings on the parts with manufacturer specifications. Authentic parts should have the markings on the same spot on every part from the same lot, and they should never be on top of an indent. Sloppy markings is a good indicator of counterfeit components.
These are some of the quickest ways to detect counterfeit components. Avoiding counterfeits can not only save a company millions of dollars but also help by reducing risk to our lives as electronics play a significant role in today’s worlds, whether it’s pacemakers or airplanes.
Robb Hammond is the President of AERI and the former chair of the Aerospace Industry’s Counterfeit Electronic Components Mitigation Standard for independent distributors, AS6081, which has become one of the industry’s most respected documents, as well as being adopted by the Department of Defense. Robb is one of the foremost thought leaders in the industry on counterfeit detection and speaks regularly at conferences around the globe.