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back to article 2011 sets new record for counterfeit electronics

Asian countries led by China are responsible for the vast majority of reports of counterfeit electronics parts, which have reached 12 million over the past five years in a potentially lethal development for the global supply chain, according to analyst IHS iSuppli. Citing data from supply chain monitoring organisation, ERAI, the …

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Anonymous Coward

Where is the surprise in this article?

Still many fakes are pretty good, people buying them don't know they have them.

Nikon battery anyone, how about a Rolex, a Patek perhaps, oh and I have this lovely BMW X 5 for sale.

All examples of fakes.

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Gold badge

It's okay when they do what they are intended to do. But there have been fake replacement chips for classic computers (C64) that have just been other incompatible chips rebadged.

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Mushroom

Even worse........

when the fake is part of your SH-60B

Hit the countermeasures button and hear "Die now, capitalist pig-dog"

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Unhappy

Don't forget the absolutely horrible epidemic of "capacitor plague" that struck the computer and electronics industry about a decade a go due to many Taiwan-produced electrolytic capacitors that had a botched formula for their electrolyte. I mention this as a massive example of "counterfeit" parts causing problems instead of just "defective" parts causing problems because the electrolyte formula was originally proprietary to a Japanese company, but then was stolen and delivered to the Taiwanese manufacturers in question through industrial espionage. Unfortunately, the worker that stole the electrolyte formula copied it down incorrectly, so the millions of knock-off capacitors that the Taiwanese manufacturers produced weren't stable and leaked or exploded after a relatively short amount of time. Dell alone lost around $300-million identifying, repairing, and replacing computer components that contained these bad capacitors. In fact, I personally still have a pile of early 2000's-era computer equipment ranging from computer motherboards to terminal servers with blown or leaking electrolytic capacitors in them that I still need to re-cap and repair if I ever want to get some of them to work again.

I also have heard first-hand tales told to me about the plague of counterfeit steel bolts being produced by places like China. They are labeled as being made of a particular strength and quality of steel when in reality they are made from much poorer and weaker steels. It has gotten so bad that now many organizations are having to take the time (and money) to test all of the bolts that they buy to make sure that they actually meet the specifications that they are labeled for to keep these potentially dangerous counterfeit bolts from being accidentally used in their products.

This counterfeit part problem can be potentially very serious depending on what kind of system the part is installed into and how off-spec the part is. There are real reasons for organizations such as the military, the aerospace industry, and even consumer electronics manufacturers to be extremely concerned-- should the device that fails due to counterfeit parts be particularly important, it could mean the loss of a large amount of time and money, or in some cases possibly even lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep...

I lost my beloved Abit BP-6 dual 433 celeron motherboard to bad caps. I tried to replace them but accidentally ballsed up the motherboard by pulling out a through board connection while desoldering the dodgy old caps.

It's amazing how long this problem lasted for, I've got a DVD recorder to repair for one of my friends because of bad caps, and it's only about five years old. Fortunately for him I have a far better solder station since the incident with the BP-6.

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Bronze badge

fake bolts

"...about the plague of counterfeit steel bolts being produced by places like China"

Will manufacturers and IP-dependant types in the 'west', in a perverse way, come to depend on the deterrent effect of the fact that the bullets used to execute people involved in such underhand dealings which themselves cost human lives--or face--are real?

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

<sarcasm>

But these electronics are rubbish, I was never going to buy the full version, because it's not worth it. And if this fake DS burns my house down because of dodgy knocked off components in the PSU, that just proves my point.

</sarcasm>

Somehow it doesn't seem to work as an excuse for buying counterfeit physical items, I wonder why it does for non-physical items.

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WTF?

I should have liked more details in the article

I thought ISO9000 certification was supposed to avoid the use of counterfeit components, so where is this going wrong? (i.e. why are so many counterfeit devices being used)

I see from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_9000 that in 2009 China far outstripped any other country for number of ISO 9000 certificates held: are many of those suppliers not keeping their promises? But surely their certificates would get revoked? (Tell me if I need a reality check.)

Otherwise, I can see that people wanting to keep down costs would choose non-certified suppliers. This would apply to DELL and many others, but I can't see the US military cutting corners that way. (Again, tell me if I'm wrong.)

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Re: I should have liked more details in the article

ISO 9000 certification is a joke. All you have to prove is that all your documentation is correct.

Also, for your final point, I cant speak for the US military, however, the US Military's suppliers have been duped repeatedly. Just do a google search for "counterfeit military parts"

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Re: I should have liked more details in the article

I second that comment. You could be ISO-9000 certified to build cement life preservers as long as you have a documented process and follow that process.

As to counterfeit parts, despite my company's diligence in parts control and only buying pedigree'd parts from certified supply chain vendors, we still have problems with some counterfeit parts getting through. Its a big problem which takes more and more time and resources to address.

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Alert

Is this what China intended?

Well, it is one way to undermine the military capability of other nations. Too cynical?

(Icon chosen for its non-reliance on high tech, but, hey, technology is always going to be blamed because in each age it is simply "what people are trying to use". I can just imagine someone once muttering about the new flint arrowheads not staying on the arrow shafts properly.)

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Silver badge

ISO9000

Just says you fully document your procedures.

It doesn't check to see if the procedures are correct or are being followed. (It's possible to produce ISO9000 documentation describing how to fly a 767 into a large american building, as a f'instance)

ISO9001 and higher audit adherence to the procedures and covers ensuring they actually work.

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Holmes

most counterfeits come from Asia

So do most of the real ones.

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Unhappy

On a plus side

My job is spotting counterfeits.

Then we speak to the supplier

Then they disappear

Then another supplier starts selling the same product at the same price.

They even have staff that sound similar on the phone.

They do it because they evidentally can get away with it. Even if you wanted to track them down you would be hard pressed to do so.

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