Thorough Testing is Required to Identify Counterfeit Components

For over a decade, the electronics industry has been plagued by the fear of distributing and using counterfeit electronic component products. While many industries have been educated in the proper precautions and testing methods in weeding out such problems, others have not thoroughly exercised the proper protocols and test methods to protect themselves from this epidemic.

While many in these industries feel that limited testing can ensure the performance of such products, this whitepaper, published by the Semiconductor Industry Association, clearly shows that electrical testing alone cannot prove the validity and authenticity of electronic components performance.

The whitepaper goes on to show that some of the processes used in counterfeiting may introduce erratic behavior of the parts to the point where they can work sometimes and fail others.

“Counterfeit semiconductors have far higher failure rates than legitimate semiconductors. While some counterfeit semiconductors will fail immediately when electrically tested or first used, other counterfeit semiconductors pose a much larger threat in terms of their susceptibility to failure after days, months, or years of operation. This is because counterfeiting operations often introduce latent defects that can remain undetected during testing of electronic systems. These subtle defects can later result in either sudden failure during system use, or, more insidiously, can cause erratic performance and produce unexpected results, which may be undetectable until the counterfeit component completely fails.” (SIA whitepaper: page 12)

We at NJMET agree with the SIA that just electrical testing is not sufficient to identify counterfeit components. With that said and with publication of this whitepaper, it is my strong recommendation to continue practicing comprehensive testing following AS5553’s counterfeit parts avoidance training compliance, IDEA’s method 1010 inspection and AS 6081 Fraudulent Electronics Parts Avoidance, Detection, and Mitigation test practices to help contain and detect future counterfeit component distribution.


Author: josephfedericonj

Joseph Federico is Vice President and Director of Operations for NJ MET, Inc., located in Clifton, NJ. He speaks world-wide on current issues in Electronic Component Testing. Among his responsibilities at NJMET, Inc. is heading up its charity programs.