A certification aimed at reducing the number of counterfeit components entering the electronics supply chain has been launched by the International Electrotechnical Commission Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components (IECQ).
The certification program is a part of IECQ's Approved Process Scheme, a program of management processes designed to increase the quality of and reduce the costs of electronics engineering, manufacturing, and distribution.
The idea behind the anticounterfeiting certification program is that manufacturers and distributors can promote their products and services to adhere to a recognized program to combat counterfeiting. Certified companies also benefit from advanced detection of potential technical problems in the supply chain and are likely to achieve easier acceptance by regulators in many countries.
Increasing concern over the entry of counterfeit parts in electronic supply chains has led to a number of other developments in recent months. In April, US and UK industry groups, ERAI and UKEA, announced a joint anticounterfeiting information sharing program. The two organizations are aiming to develop a unified, transatlantic database of reported counterfeits entering the supply chain.
The US Department of Defense announced proposed rule changes in May requiring its contractors to implement anticounterfeiting programs for electronic components. The proposal requires that DoD contractors and subcontractors at all tiers obtain electronic parts only from "trusted suppliers" who themselves have proper anticounterfeiting procedures in place. It also mandates that companies institute policies regarding the training of personnel, inspection and testing of electronic parts, traceability of parts, and reporting of counterfeit and suspect electronic parts.
The first company to receive IECQ anticounterfeiting certification is Secure Components, an independent distributor based in Norristown, Pa., which specializes in sourcing hard to find components for the aerospace and defense industries.
"Before IECQ, industry had no reliable program at an international level to ensure a company's compliance to an effective counterfeit avoidance plan," said Todd Kramer, Secure Components' CEO, in a statement. "A broker or distributor could claim compliance to systems without third party oversight or international recognition." Kramer is also chairman of the Center for Counterfeit Avoidance, a forum for sharing ideas and best-practices on combating counterfeiting in electronics supply chains.
The problem of fake parts extends across the breadth of the electronics industry. Kramer added:
Counterfeiting is something that affects all industries across the board. Everyone is suffering from intellectual property being stolen and safety being compromised. Embracing this change will not only help business but more importantly this will increase the safety of the men and woman using the equipment.
Do these intial forays into certification do enough? Let us know what you think.