Anti-counterfeiting and quality control have been, and will always be, a daily battle. On the front lines of the complex chip world are accredited, high-tech laboratories that have demonstrated competence to meet standards such as ISO/IEC 17025.
Accredited testing laboratories are essential elements of quality management and counterfeit mitigation strategies. These labs reliably fulfill customer requirements; provide best-in-class quality; and perform increasingly sophisticated testing and calibration services to ensure proper markings, documentation, component functionality, and performance. Furthermore, as components become more complex, counterfeit and substandard part detection methods should follow suit.
Industry standards support quality management
Testing laboratories can be accredited under ISO/IEC 17025. The ISO/IEC 17025 standard specifies general, cross-industry requirements for testing and calibration competency for technical, operational, and management systems. In this way, this standard covers both technical facilities and management processes related to ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems.
Knowing that a testing facility — and the people performing the tests — meets the highest industry standards is one way to ensure that specific quality metrics are being upheld. It also mitigates the risk of receiving counterfeit or substandard parts. Working with accredited labs ensures that testing and calibration is performed to industry standards. The international aspect of the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is important in today's global market because it provides a recognized and established means for evaluating labs. Results from these labs are accepted in all countries that recognize the standard.
Satisfying quality management and RoHS 2
Businesses that have coupled the ISO 9000 series for quality management systems with the laboratory specific ISO/IEC 17025 are noteworthy because they have demonstrated both technical and procedural competencies. The results coming from these labs are based on solid technical, hardware, operational, and knowledge competencies.
As we move forward to the implementation of the EU's RoHS 2 in January 2013, it's critical that the requirements for product markings, component and sub-assembly, testing, and documentation are all met.
Ensuring compliance for RoHS 2 is a detailed and complex process. Using an accredited facility affiliated with a distributor can be important not just for quality, but for maintaining just-in-time (JIT) and inventory management services. The semiconductor supply chain continues to mature as partners expand their capabilities and services to help meet the growing challenges of quality, reporting, risk mitigation, and JIT — all while attending to the customized needs of each situation.
Accredited laboratories can be found by searching The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board or similar accreditation boards.