Combating counterfeiting in the electronic component and parts industries is an expensive but necessary practice. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recently performed an investigation, and have revealed that counterfeit electronic parts, components and accessories are regularly getting into the legitimate supply chain and inventories of well known consumer electronics companies.
From talking to manufacturers, component distributors and testers, the research showed that a minimum 5% of the global electronics supply chain consists of counterfeit consumer electronics components and accessories. 5% doesnt seem like a high number but considering the total amount of global sales which is in the trillions, 5% is a substantial figure.
Counterfeit electronic parts and components that do make their way into the supply chain and end up in consumer devices, military or avionic sectors can have dire effects since more often than not the counterfeit items are of poor quality which often cause critical failure or can put an individuals data at risk or even lives.
The Trading Standards Institute has also indicated that the amount of seizures of counterfeit components and accessories, destined for use with consumer devices, is growing; however along with this is also the growing of prevention methods and quality control checks.
The growing trend to counterfeiting is coming in the form of sourcing components from the original manufacturer and altering the product to make it look like something it wasnt. Another trend is happening from the e-waste market where components are harvested from electronic waste and resold as new; the harvesting of the components does not use any protection process or quality control so the likelihood of harvested electronic components and parts being faulty and in poor condition is extremely high.
With some good news in the fight against the rising flow of counterfeit electronic parts and components into the market saw three family members indicted for trafficking counterfeit ICs to the United States Navy at the end of 2009. Two of the California family members have since pleaded guilty; both are currently awaiting sentencing and can face up to several years in jail and several million dollars in fines.
The US government is one of many governments who are taking a hard line against counterfeiting electronic parts and components. Providers and distributors are also working hard in combating the spread of counterfeit items by implementing state of the art quality control processes and systems to aid in the detection.
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