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Showing posts tagged 'counterfeiters'


28 April 2021

Electronics Counterfeiters Capitalize on Component Shortages

component checking

The electronics industry is experiencing a components shortage which is bad news for everyone except counterfeiters who are seeing greater demand than ever.

The total available market for counterfeit electronic components is billions of pounds, so it makes no wonder this illegal activity is seeing rapid growth.

What is a counterfeit part?

A counterfeit part is an unauthorised copy, imitation, substitute, or modification of an original component. Counterfeit components are a misrepresentation of the real thing but can be extremely convincing they are legitimate.

Giveaways that components are counterfeits include:

  • Colour variances
  • Misspellings and incorrect labelling
  • Mismatched date codes
  • Duplicate date codes and labels
  • Missing items
  • Poor packaging and quality control
  • Font variances
  • Country of origin problems
  • Signs of “resurfacing”
  • Failure in tests and performance issues

How are counterfeiters capitalising on component shortages?

Electronics counterfeiters are capitalising on component shortages by penetrating weakened supply chains, taking advantage of inadequate quality control processes and taking advantage of inadequate reporting.

Demand is exceeding supply for many electronic components, exasperating the issue. The semiconductor shortage is the current big one.

As lead times get pushed out, buyers are faced with a dilemma: should they stick with trusted suppliers and put up with delays or look for another supplier? The risk is the ‘other supplier’ being a counterfeiter or not having the necessary controls in place to ensure that shipments do not get intercepted and changed.

This dilemma is when counterfeiters strike to take advantage. The wrong decision can have significant financial and economic consequences.

Another area of focus for counterfeiters is the scarcity of parts caused by end-of-life designations. There is significant demand for end-of-life components, but they can be very hard to find. Counterfeiters pray on this weakness with illegitimate copies.

There’s also a grey market for used electronic components that are refurbished or reconditioned and sold as new. The danger with this is using components that are spent and not repaired properly. When you buy “new” the components should be exactly that. Buying used is never a good idea, unless you want used parts.

How can I protect myself from counterfeiters?

First of all, you should read our 8 Step Guide To Buying Electronic Components With Confidence and Avoiding Counterfeits.

Secondly, you should only work with electronic component suppliers who have a compliance program in place. A good benchmark is suppliers who are ERAI (Electronic Resellers Association International) members. We are ERAI members, so we are on the ERAI database and use ERAI supply chain risk mitigation solutions.

Secondly, it’s really important that you have adequate inspection and testing processes in place to verify the components you receive. If your supplier tests components for you, what testing facilities do they use, and which services are performed?

Summing up

Electronics counterfeiters are capitalising on component shortages by taking advantage of inadequate quality control and reporting processes and weakened supply chains.

A robust supply chain and trusted parts suppliers are the two keys to protecting your organisation. If you are concerned about counterfeit components in your supply chain we’re happy to provide advice. Call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat.

Tags: counterfeiters electronic components lead times 8 step guide to buying electronic components with confidence and avoiding counterfeits electronic component suppliers erai


10 February 2021

What does 2021 hold for the electronic components industry?

componentThe coronavirus pandemic hit the electronic components industry like a freight train, knocking supply and demand for six. Now that 2021 is upon us, economies are starting to open up with pinned hopes on vaccines. This could be a banana skin, but 2021 should be a calmer year overall. The world should get back to business.

2021 in a nutshell

The avenues shut down for raw materials and shipments of electronic components will begin to open back up in 2021. This will create a healthier supply and demand market than 2020. Some issues will remain. Component shortages are likely, and this is especially true of newer parts that are found in connected devices.

Semiconductors will lead demand

The semiconductor industry saw a significant increase in global chip demand in 2020 and this will only continue in 2021. Cyclicity driven by 5G and Wi-Fi 6 upgrades and tailwinds like edge computing, AI and AR / VR will fuel demand.

Who will benefit most? Our money is on Broadcom, Arm, Qualcomm, Intel, AMD, Nvidia and Skyworks with TSMC winning on the foundry side.

DRAM will follow the path of semis

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is as essential to connected technologies as semiconductors. 2020 saw a sharp increase in recovery from the first quarter, and 2021 will exhibit a similarly healthy supply and demand situation.

Who will benefit most? Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix, who are the first, second and third largest manufacturers of DRAM respectively.

Shutdowns will continue

The risk of shutdowns of component production because of the coronavirus will remain in 2021. This will create extended lead times and supply issues. Governments may be forced to shutdown factories in localised areas.

The good news is this will become less common as the year goes on. The pandemic’s impact on production will reduce over time.

Tailwinds will fuel more demand than cyclicity

When evaluating electronic component demand, cyclicity and tailwinds are often pitched against each other. In 2021, we expect tailwinds like AI, edge computing, robotics and VR / AR to fuel greater growth than cyclical upgrades.

This is a sign of the times. The world is getting more connected and smarter. Innovation will fuel tailwinds and create booming tech sectors.

Counterfeiters will grow more prolific

One of the sad realities of electronic components is counterfeit components. They are becoming more sophisticated. As manufacturers clamber to get stock in this year, they are at a high risk of being targeted by counterfeiters.

Companies should rigorously control purchase sources, conduct quality inspections and use a trusted distribution partner to combat these risks.

Looking to the future

In 2020, the electronic components industry handled the coronavirus pandemic in an efficient and calculated manner. Supply and demand issues hit the industry, but they were solved for the most part in good time.

2021 will be calmer for several reasons: 1) We now have a lived experience of the coronavirus and know how to manage shutdowns efficiently, and 2) There is an increased need for us to get back to work and get on with our lives.

Tags: semiconductors dram electronic components counterfeiters


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