Checking the authenticity of electronic components being used is the main concern in manufacturing electronical items. Counterfeit electronic components have been a major hurdle in the way of manufacturers. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in fake electronics due to the thriving graph of the counterfeit industry via new tricks in masking the original. There are 2 usual ways through which counterfeits are produced. These are:
- Old parts are renewed and are sold again in new parts.
- Or, they are labeled again and are sold as completely distinctive parts.
A manufacturer often finds it a major thorn. Most of the time, these fake components do a wonderful job imitating the ones that have been ordered by you. They do not fail in early testing. Down the line, they will lead to failures with the acute outcome. Imagine a fire alarm or a transmission apparatus in a mine. If these devices fail to work, then it will put many lives in danger.
However, some experts can spot counterfeit electronic parts easily. Hence, this becomes very important to notice every part carefully. But if you can find it, then no worries, as we are here to help you check out some simple ways that help you in;
Avoiding fake electronics
The one sign you need to observe while tracing a fake electronics is:
Information not given correctly
One of the simplest ways to track fake electronics is improper information. Most of the time Chinese manufacturers fail in imitating the marking on the part package. These include mistakes in spelling, number, logo, and font.
Checking with X-Ray
Another trick you can apply to check the authenticity of an electronic component is through the X-Ray machine. The process is just akin to the usual X-ray that lets you visualize the internal parts of the electronic component. The process helps track down indicators like:
- Die sizes not being consistent or absent
- Fraction of material into layers
- Wire bonds in fragmented conditions or lost
After the electronic part has been approved by The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), the inspection via X-ray can be used for confirming its lead-free status, something that is often missed by counterfeiters.
Using SAM technique
Coming on to the next solution to track fake electronics is using the SAM technique. SAM stands for Scanning Acoustic Microscope. This is very helpful in locating laser etching underneath blacktopping. After the discovery of etching, it is clear that resurfacing was done with foul intention to mask the original markings. Other than acetone solution the use of SAM is best for discovering blacktopping is not at all destructive. It greenlit the use of the component if it is found authentic after thorough checking.
Blacktopping is the process behind the resurfacing of an electronic component. All it requires is sanding off the real markings and application of polymer coating for covering up as if nothing happened or making it untraceable. But sometimes, it becomes ineffective in leaving visible clues of its fakeness. The partial filling of the indents on a chip by the polymer that has been blacktopped is one such example of tracing fake electronics.
Decapsulation is the first destructive testing (DT) method. The process follows by the placement of abrasive acids on the component surface, till the time internal dye is shown, which can be later examined with the help of a microscope. If the packaging of the component is ceramic, then the lid is removed manually like de-lidding, a similar process.
In the beginning, it has been mentioned that counterfeit parts are restored from old electronics items, and are then sold as new. However, the mistakes do occur when you observe distortions in form of scratch marks. If a person is smart enough to notice it, then he can easily spot the fake electronics.
Taking the help of authorized distributors
Well, the above methods are indeed very useful in tracing the authenticity of electronic parts, still, it is advised that one must limit his buying and should rely on authorized distributors.
This way, you are taking an initiative in letting your electronic components go through more than one test. Even though looking up to authorized distributors is the safe strategy to go with, still, they are not the sole solution always. You might have to take the help of an outsider distributor.
Well, these are methods to encounter fake electronic items, but let’s not underestimate the counterfeit operations, as they can mend their strategies with new ideas. Hence, it is very essential to be extra alert whenever you come across the latest information in concern to counterfeit parts and checking. Despite multiple tactics to counter the counterfeit issue, it is not that possible to eliminate it. However, with anti-hoarding by Blokchi, a blockchain-enabled and NFT tagging solution, counterfeiting can be minimized.