Concentrate on counterfeit clues and purple flags

As Flip Electronics explains, when the conclusion comes {that a} half simply isn’t accessible, don’t panic and don’t decrease requirements

As we speak’s electronics manufacturing market is rife with challenges, all of which have put the availability chain prime of thoughts. Mixed with lengthening lead occasions, lingering shortages and shorter end-of-life cycles, these tendencies are giving counterfeiters the stress factors they should slip extra faux merchandise into {the marketplace} than ever. Producers want to extend their provide chain vigilance to make sure they aren’t caught within the entice.

US-based semiconductor companies face greater than $7.5 billion in counterfeiting prices annually, in keeping with the Semiconductor Business Affiliation. Authorities estimates put counterfeit semiconductors and different digital elements as roughly 15 per cent of the Division of Protection provide chain. These are big numbers.

Prices related to counterfeiting are staggering. For OEMs, changing a $2 half can value as a lot as ten occasions that to exchange as soon as the chip has been placed on a circuit board. Counterfeit electrical, electromechanical and digital elements jeopardize nationwide safety initiatives and hurt a company’s model. The largest risk, although, is to human life, each civilian and army, the place a faux chip can result in catastrophic failures.

Counterfeit merchandise are getting more durable to identify as properly. There are seven forms of counterfeit elements within the electronics provide chain: recycled, remarked, overproduced, out-of-spec, cloned, solid, and tampered. In lots of of those instances, higher expertise has allowed thieves to create extra convincing fakes much more cheaply than earlier than. Their bag of methods has expanded to incorporate acid washes, floor sanding, river washes and publicity to open flame to hide an element’s true origin. Then, utilizing digital printing methods and lasers, crooks neatly relabel the half and put them on the open market.

Criminals are discovering new methods to rip-off consumers. For instance, some are embedding ‘trojan codes’ into FPGAs or reminiscence elements, which is one thing that may’t be examined for. These codes can provide malicious actors a backdoor into techniques and will doubtlessly enable the IC to be reprogrammed by a foul actor.

Sticking to identified suppliers and conventional sources is the most effective safeguard however more and more that will not be a very life like alternative. As a substitute, everybody should do what they’ll to kind good from dangerous.  Shopping for from identified good sources via licensed distribution and direct manufacturing facility purchases ought to at all times be the objective. Along with cautious sourcing, consumers can leverage a mix of excellent avoidance practices, bodily inspection and electrical testing of elements.

By no means stray from the stringent high quality requirements. Set up protocols and procedures for part testing that embrace a spread of approaches together with: visible inspection, blacktop/remarking testing, x-ray and destruct testing. No method is foolproof, however persistent and constant consciousness of potential counterfeits is the most effective path ahead.

Begin eager about mitigating the chance of counterfeit elements early within the new product introduction course of. Buying ought to prioritize merchandise which can be early of their lifecycle and abundantly accessible. Two sources are at all times higher than one.  If a tool is encountered close to its end-of-life, search for potential purple flags:

  • A provider with no contractual association with the unique producer. Know the chain of custody for the elements being purchased
  • What does the provider’s market status seem like? What commerce organizations does it belong to (ECIA, for instance)?
  • Have previous experiences been good? Have companions? In the event that they don’t have any historical past, there’s a possible downside

Some unauthorized suppliers could also be reliable companions however dipping into that pool will increase danger. If it’s a mandatory and worthwhile danger, ensure the standard management workforce is on the job. Discover as a lot data from the half’s producer as doable: what does it seem like and the way it’s packaged/labeled. Verify the elements might be traced all through their lifecycle, again to the unique producer if doable. Honest warning, that may be an enormous ask.

On hard-to-find elements, decrease the chance profile by working down the sourcing continuum, at all times beginning with licensed distributors. When the conclusion comes {that a} half simply isn’t accessible, don’t panic and don’t decrease requirements. There are licensed sources that target EoL and obsolescence.


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