Counterfeit electronic components make their way into different markets everyday but thankfully there are methods through which the government is able to detect incoming counterfeit products. In this article, we’re going to talk about the different methods for electronic component inspection.
Electronic components can be tested through DNA marking, which refers to unique marks that have been placed by the manufacturer but can’t be copied by anyone else. The Department of Defence actually requires DNA marking on its high-risk micro circuits.
Another known method for inspecting electronic components is through x-ray inspection. X-ray inspections compare the internal structure of incoming components against a sample of an authentic item. You’d be surprised, but while counterfeit may pass for the real deal with our naked eyes, counterfeit devices actually differ in their internal structure, like having different die frames or different wire bonding.
X-RF inspection is also another method for stopping the influx of counterfeit items. With X-RF inspection, an X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy device is used to confirm the authenticity of a part.
Another method for inspecting counterfeit devices is through decapsulation. This method is usually used to test semiconductor. Decapsulation involves removing the external packaging and exposing the semiconductor wafer for laser die etching and marks to determine authenticity.
Other known methods of inspecting counterfeit items include chemical methods or using heated acid expose counterfeits, and mechanical methods which involve physical methods – cracking, chopping and cutting components.
And there are many other methods for exposing fake components from the not. It’s important to remember that there are many ways that con artists make counterfeits, including sanding and Remarking, blacktopping and remarking, upscreening and re-balling items from no-lead to leaded without the approval of the OEM.
Government agencies and manufacturers are constantly developing new methods to detect counterfeit components. The latest of these methods include:
Scanning Acoustic Microscopy or SAM which reveals laser etching beneath blacktop material and Parametric Testing or Curve Tracing which determines if a product sample possesses the same electrical characteristics as the original.
The entry of counterfeit products in the market can be attributed to different factors like the dotcom boom, outsourcing and off-shoring manufacturing operations, the ability to easily share information on the Internet, the entry of China to the World Trade Organization, and shipping companies like FedEx which don’t really check small items.
But perhaps the greatest contribution to the boom in counterfeit operations is the United States’ continuing practice of exporting its e-waste to China and other developing countries. The e-waste provides the raw material for making counterfeit products. In the later part of 1989, most developed countries (except the United States and a few others) in the world actually signed a pact called the Basel Convention where they promised to stop exporting e-waste to developing countries.
If you think manufacturing counterfeits isn’t so bad, think again. There are crucial equipment likes the ones used in the military that could malfunction because of a counterfeit component.