27 Jan 2021 -
 Defence

Beware counterfeits during times of shortage

Lead times on components of all types, from semiconductors to passives, are stretching out with no end in sight. In a scramble to obtain essential parts, OEMs are increasingly likely to turn to less reliable sources, providing an opportunity for counterfeiters.

In recent weeks we’ve seen a list of semiconductor manufacturers issuing statements about lead times. SemiMedia saw a Microchip notice to its customers, which indicated that the lead time of some of its devices will be extended from the previous 18 weeks to 54 weeks. They report that STMicroelectronics is now 20-26 weeks, NXP is about 25 weeks, Renesas is 20-24 weeks, and Toshiba’s lead time is about 25 weeks. “In addition, the lead time for most of Maxim’s devices is 20 weeks, Diodes Inc.’s low-voltage Mosfet is 17-22 weeks, Qualcomm is more than 30 weeks, and Altera’s lead time is extended by 6-8 weeks from the original standard lead time,” reports SemiMedia.

“Shortages go in cycles,” said Robin Gray, chief counsel of the Electronic Component Industry Association (ECIA) to EE Times. “For years, it was tantalum capacitors but now its many types of passives, including multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), as well as certain semiconductors. A key takeaway is that when times are good, lead times are always pushed out. When that happens, it’s more of an opportunity for counterfeiters to step in and [counterfeit a] product.”

‘With current volatility in the component supply chain, extended lead-times and rapid obsolescence cycles, it’s even more important to be aware of the threats’, says Mark Shanley, Astute’s Sales and Marketing Director. Mark has been at the forefront of Astute’s counterfeit avoidance efforts for 25 years. He will be a guest speaker at the first of a series of Anti-Counterfeiting Webinars organised by the Anti-Counterfeiting Forum on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, 14:00 – 15:45 GMT. Get tickets for the seminar to hear Mark speak about current threats and developments.

For further help on de-risking your supply chain, Astute Electronics offer very reliable on-site labs for carrying out a range of destructive and non-destructive counterfeit testing, as shown here:

Astute is a highly accredited, quality-driven procurement expert, with a list of clients that includes the world’s leading defence suppliers. Our mission is to shield you against inferior quality products and services. As such, our operations are run in accordance with quality processes including AS6081 that mitigates the risks of purchasing and supplying fraudulent/counterfeit electronic parts.

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