Counting the Cost of Component Counterfeiting

29 October 2007

Soldertec's facility in St Albans, UK

Short lead times and component availability are two of the issues forcing companies to look beyond trusted suppliers and face potential pitfalls of counterfeit components. Soldertec has launched a new service to put manufacturers minds at ease

The pressure for shorter times to market is pushing electronic equipment manufacturers to look beyond their trusted supply chain for quick delivery of components which are difficult to source. This has led to the growth of component counterfeiting. A recent report estimated the losses to customers falling victims of counterfeiters exceeded $15 billion/annum. Consequently, Soldertec Global is offering a new counterfeit detection service aiming to minimise the risks involved in buying from untried sources.

The Counterfeit Detection Service is based upon the IDEA-STD-1010-A Standard, which describes a rigorous optical inspection regime supplemented by tests on the marking inks. This service extends the level of testing using very high optical magnification, plus high-resolution real time X-ray inspection, and the additional use of material detection techniques such as XRF (X-ray Fluorescence). The non destructive testing can be supplemented by advanced destructive techniques which allow for silicon inspection after encapsulant removal and inspection of a cross section by SEM.

“Today, counterfeiters have turned their skills to the electronic component market and are becoming ever more sophisticated in their techniques,” comments Tom Perrett, Marketing Manager at Soldertec Global. “Therefore, we have incorporated the use of advanced analytical techniques to detect the counterfeit component before it becomes part of a safety critical device which could damage reputations and potentially cause a loss of life. Some of the techniques we offer have never been used before for this purpose and this enables us to keep ahead of the forgers and con men. “

The SMART Group is hosting a seminar on “Solving Counterfeit Components – The Problem, Identification & Testing” at Soldertec Global’s laboratory in the UK on the 22nd November. There are a small number of places still available. For further details on the Smart Group event, please contact Tony Gordon at the SMART Group by email at: info@smartgroup.org or telephone on: 01494 465217.

The launch of this service further extends the capabilities of the laboratories at Soldertec Global, which provides a comprehensive range of analytical techniques for industry to solve many diverse issues and problems. These can be investigated at one facility through a single contact point. Some of the other services available include: BGA X-ray inspection, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Solderability testing, RoHS Screening and RoHS Assurance Testing.


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