02 Jul 2021 -
 Defence

Counterfeit chips proliferate amid shortages

Electronics counterfeit mitigation

With no immediate end in sight to the semiconductor chip shortage, more counterfeiters are looking to cash in on “panic buying” by bringing their substandard, unsafe chips to market, writes Bridget McRea in Source Today.

“The worldwide shortages have opened the door for criminals to exploit the electronic component marketplace,” the Independent Distributors of Electronics Association’s Steve Calabria told Ars Technica. “Companies that have never been rated by any other company in the industry [are] showing significant quantities of parts that are in shortage.”

“With the world’s foundries unable to produce chips fast enough to cope with the current surge in demand, the global chip shortage is impacting all industries that depend on electronic components, ranging from basic home appliances like microwaves and refrigerators to the automotive sector,” writes McRea.

“If next week, you need to get 5,000 parts or your line will shut down, you will be in a situation of distress purchase and you will put your guard down,” Diganta Das, a researcher with the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, told ZDNet. “You won’t keep to your rules of verifying the vendor or going through test processes. This is likely to become a big problem.”

“The counterfeiters now, in fact, have original manufacturers’ equipment. They can silkscreen and really make the parts look to be very, very much the part that you require and in some respects, can actually go past first initial tests, electrical tests, or they could actually meet some of the characteristics that would indicate that it’s the same family,” says Astute’s owner and MD, Geoff Hill.

There are several ways to combat fake chips. Says Geoff, “When you’re buying products without any warranty or traceability, you have to test. There’s a AS6081 spec that we use mainly for semiconductors and for components generally. It ranges a whole range of equipment that we’ve been doing for many, many years.”

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. Find out more about our counterfeit mitigation techniques by contacting one of our experts.

We have on-site anti-counterfeit testing facilities in both the U.K. and U.S. for carrying out a range of destructive and non-destructive testing, as shown here:

Either through the hundreds of manufacturers we purchase directly from, or the international network of component supply-partners offering full product traceability, Astute Safe-Supply, run by sourcing experts and offers a deeper insight into the global components markets.

With real-time access to the latest listings and prices cultivated through several decades of close supplier partnerships, we are able to spot price disparities and leverage product price variances to deliver cost-effective solutions to customers, whilst ensuring a quality, risk-free supply.

For more help with looking at supply chain options, contact Astute Electronics here

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