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Counterfeit Testing: How to Inspect Electronic Components and Semiconductors?

Counterfeit Testing: How to Inspect Electronic Components and Semiconductors?

A key concern to supply chains is the persistent problem of counterfeit electrical components. Counterfeit electronic components continue to infiltrate the market, despite the efforts of authorities and enterprises. 

The sale of counterfeit electronic components raises questions regarding real economic and inventive development inside the semiconductor manufacturing sector, which adds to problems for customers in terms of product quality.

Even though ERAI was created in 1995 to investigate and manage worldwide electronics distribution network problems, counterfeit devices remain a major danger. 

It is better if electronic distribution channels use industry-accepted inspection procedures to check for differences to discover suspicious counterfeit devices. Distributors can distinguish between genuine and counterfeit electrical components using these four simple but efficient procedures.

Visual Examination

It used to be that counterfeit electrical components featured the most fundamental discrepancies, such as typographical mistakes and writing that was misaligned or blurred. However, counterfeiting has improved in recent years, making it more difficult to detect inconsistencies. With the help of an ERAI presentation, you will learn about the most prevalent visual flaws that may be found in counterfeit electrical components and how to identify them.

The dimensions of an electrical component, such as its length, height, and breadth, should meet the OCM sheet parameters. All measures, from the original body measurements to the lead width and the component marks and mold holes noticed, should be checked when conducting a visual examination.

Reproducing the false digits and specifications requires removing any original marks from the item, which is done via the procedure called “Blacktopping,” which involves resurfacing the component. 

An acetone wash could erase the additional residue and show the original marks, along with Thermal Solvents Experimenting for further rigorous surface examination.

The Use of X-Ray Examination

Using X-ray inspection, component vendors may analyze internal functioning such as die framework and wire coupling durability. Counterfeit electrical parts have the six most prevalent abnormalities, as stated by an ECN online magazine report.

  • Die sizing that is irregular
  • Inconsistency in the lead framework.
  • Wire couplings that are broken or absent
  • Wrong Wire coupling schematic
  • Absence of a Die
  • Die attachment bonding variants

The surface of an electronic component may be counterfeited far more easily than the inner. So, an X-ray examination is a valuable approach for spotting inconsistencies and contrasting them to manufacturer requirements using a perfect test portion.

Electrical Examination

U.S Tech defines the electrical examination as a technique for assessing the operational and statistical criteria at the required severe functioning temperatures for counterfeit components. To ensure that the electrical component is working properly, it is subjected to a series of rigorous testing. 

Suppliers and consumers can detect counterfeit microchips more quickly because of the complexity of the testing. Counterfeit commodities may be tested via electrical examination in five different industrial sectors:

Commercial Sector

  • Temperatures category from 0 to 70 degrees Celsius.

Industrial Sector

  • Evaluation is carried out in the -40°C to 85°C degree Celsius Temperature category

Automobile Sector

  • Conduct operational evaluation in the -40°C to 110°C degree Celsius temperature category.

Aeronautics and Military Sector

  • Active temperature category of -55°C to 125°C degree Celsius in subgroups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 8B, 9, 10, and 11.

Space Sector

  • -65°C – 150°C Degree Celsius for subgroups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 8B, 9, 10, and 11.

Decapsulation Examination

Bases, acids, and solutions extract the mold component from the die during decapsulation examination. Using a high-tech microscope, suppliers may check the electronic part’s internal functioning to look for production errors. Distributors should examine the following to guarantee that electronic components are genuine:

  • Authentic production marks are present.
  • The die and wire couplings are free of flaws.
  • Typography of all kinds is in order.
  • All components and serial numbers are exact and genuine.

It is challenging to identify counterfeit electrical components considering several reasons why a component fails the essential tests. In some instances, the OCM would identify the components individually; thus, not everything that seems to be a counterfeit electrical part is a counterfeit. 

A component may only be labeled “counterfeit” by the manufacturer in terms of intellectual property. However, “Suspect Counterfeit” is the phrase used by the rest of the sector. Therefore, only the intellectual property owner (IP) may assert a counterfeit component lawfully.

Final Thoughts

Counterfeit electronic components have become a significant problem that many suppliers now face in the manufacturing industry. It is why distributors need to carry out the various examination methods as listed in this article to confirm the genuinity of the electronic components. 

To avoid expensive repairs due to equipment breakdown, be sure you get your supplies from a reputable electronics and semiconductor distributor and ensure to stick with such reliable distributors to get the best value for your money.

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