Counterfeit components affect the whole supply chain
Counterfeit goods are an increasing problem everywhere. It’s not just high value parts that are being counterfeited; piracy in components is increasing exponentially. This has become a significant problem that affects the whole electronics supply chain, down to the end product.
Increased liability and cost
Counterfeit electrical and electronic products and components can be dangerous because they often use cheap raw material. They are often also poorly assembled, and generally are not tested or certified.
Electronic components from discarded electrical devices (e-waste) are equally dangerous because they generally don’t retain their original specifications and are presented to the market as a new product.
The use of such recycled or pirated electronic components can result in the deterioration of whole products and systems.
More than a nuisance
While counterfeit electrical and electronic products can be a nuisance when they result in the destruction of a household appliance or a home entertainment system, they can be a significant safety hazard, causing injuries and death in addition to substantial losses in property. They can have catastrophic consequences in aerospace where loss of performance or reliability is then generally fatal.
The aerospace industry is closely working with the IEC to fight the piracy of electronic components.
An important tool
WEF members were interested to learn that third-party certification can be an important deterrent against counterfeit electronics. It provides independent verification of a product or component and helps reduce liability in case of incidents. While some of the people in the room knew about IECQ, they were generally not aware of the IECQ Counterfeit Avoidance Programme for electronic components and assemblies. They learned with interest that IECQ provides immediate online verification that helps spot fake merchandise. Additionally the programme includes certification for component suppliers as well as supply chain management and control mechanisms that support the quality assurance of electronic components.
The IEC presentation gave WEF members a new insight into IEC work beyond standardization.