Although any product can be a challenge to authenticate, passive electronic components, if faked fairly well, can be nearly impossible. This is true even for the most competent electronics distributor or test house with sophisticated counterfeit test equipment.
Creating a fake passive is fairly easy. There are many low grade, no name manufacturers which make capacitors, resistors, and other simple passive devices. Quite often the parts are so small that there are no markings on the part’s body. Therefore they do not need to be remarked since there was nothing there to start with. The only source of information is the easily reproducible printed label on the box or reel.
Even with the increased risk brought about by the current electronic component shortage, equipment manufacturers are buying passive electronics from independent distribution out of sheer desperation to keep their production lines moving. Lead times are often 26+ weeks even on simple capacitors.
Although there are no 100% assurances with passives, AERI takes many steps to authenticate them. With the exception of full electrical testing at varying temperatures, AERI performs the following:
- Comparison of dimensional measurements to the datasheet
- Utilization of X-ray Fluorescence to decipher all metal elements
- Comparison against past shipments with detailed historical records
- Datasheet specifications comparison
- Basic electrical test, when our capabilities allow
- Thorough examination of labels for authenticity
- Communication with the manufacturer, when cooperative
But there are still uncertainties after performing all of these tests, and remember, this is difficult for any test facility, even if they tell you otherwise. If you cannot find them at an authorized source or use an alternative manufacturer part number, AERI is one of the safest independent distributors to buy electronic components from in the world.
Even though our track record is amazing, we still feel it is important to share with you the inherent risk of buying passives in the open market. We hope you found this information helpful towards developing safe policies around buying passive electronics from the independent market. Please contact your AERI Part Search Expert for your most difficult requirements
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.