10 Ways to Identify Counterfeit ICs

Bill Cardoso, Creative Electron | 04-02-2021

In my monthly column, I’ve expressed concern about the likelihood of increased counterfeiting as a knock-on effect of the chip shortage. Because the incentives for counterfeiters are high right now, as an industry we must be somewhat more vigilant in maintaining our best practices for preventing fake parts from corrupting the supply chain and our products. 

Under normal circumstances the cost associated with counterfeit electronic components exceeds $5 billion annually. The pressures of the current chip shortage will likely push those losses even higher for as long as the supply remains tight. Still, we all can agree that, if fake parts were to enter your inventory or end up in your products, while the reputational damage to your business will likely be significant, it can also be tough to quantify. Even harder yet would be assigning cost should counterfeit components in critical applications contribute to injury or loss of life.  

So, how about a little refresher on some of the most effective techniques for component inspection using X-ray? While other visual inspection techniques provide important insight into component quality and authenticity, nothing exceeds X-ray inspection for fast, accurate, non-destructive evaluation. The following are 10 ways to identify a fake IC using X-ray. 

To read this entire article, which appeared in the March 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.