Counterfeit Electronic Components – Unknowingly Usage Consequences

by David Fradis

Electronic components are the “raw materials” of the electronics industry. Nevertheless, there is no test procedure in place performing “incoming inspection” on this raw material. The overwhelming majority of the components are assembled without any testing, paving the way to a $30B fraud counterfeit industry. Most manufacturers use counterfeit components unknowingly.

Some may say: “If it works, who cares it’s counterfeit, right!?” Wrong! Do you want to be on a plane where the controls are made of fake parts, even if they seem to do the job? Here is why you don’t want counterfeit components in your system:

Counterfeit components may be cheap copies, recycled, rejected, old, or tampered components. Cheap copies are components that are built using low-quality materials, processes, and quality assurance. They may pass first functional testing; however, they are not the same as authentic ones. For example, a capacitor made by a decent manufacturer and a copy may roughly have the same capacitance, however, when operating under voltage bias the authentic capacitor will maintain its capacitance, while the copy will not. Whether this will cause failure to the system or not is a matter of luck. There is no practical way to do functional tests for all the components on the circuit-board under all possible operation conditions.

Another issue is old components posing as fresh ones. The component connection-leads determine the strength and quality of the soldering bond and its ability to withstand stress and time. The soldering leads age quickly because of chemical inter-metallic reactions and corrosion. This process is accelerated by poor storage conditions, humidity and temperature. A solder joint made with deteriorated leads may be strong enough to hold and pass the functional tests but statistically they will cause increased failure rates, lowering the system Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). Again, testing all circuits for these kinds of statistical failures after assembly is simply inefficient and extremely expensive.

Just because a product passed manufacturing post-assembly inspection does not guarantee it is free of counterfeit components. The vast majority of counterfeit components pass through them without detection causing failures later on in the product life cycle and leading to poor quality and recalls. For that reason, many manufacturers are not aware of the extent of counterfeit components they use. It fails statistically later-on in the product life cycle and they never hear of it, which reduces their costumer’s trust. If they do get recalls, they rarely trace the failure back to a counterfeit component, they sign it off as the cost of doing business when in fact it can be easily avoided.

The global damage due to counterfeit components is estimated at $580B annually! Leaving it to luck and trust does not work well for the market. Make sure you use only authentic components. Test all the electronic components in your system! Cybord’s AI software tests 100% of the components before they are assembled. It independently assures and reports that only authentic, fresh and untampered components are used on each assembled board.

About

 

“Our passion is in making the world safer through assuring all electronic products are built using genuine components, increasing their quality, and providing customers  and consumers with the security they deserve.”

We started with a real pain.

Cybord was founded by Dr Eyal Weiss, after he experienced a crisis due to counterfeit electronic components in a military-grade project that took 12 years to develop and deploy. It took his team months to trace the problem down to a  3 cent passive component.

Turns out Eyal was not the only one: It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of all components on the market are counterfeit, resulting in poor quality and exposure to cyber attacks. It is estimated that the leading reason for product returns are caused by counterfeit components.

Cybord detects counterfeit electronic components, helping electronics companies assure that each and every assembled component is 100% genuine and untampered. We achieve this by our patented deep visual inspection technology.

 

Management Team