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Dave Sasson
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Supply Network Guru
The Battle Continues
Dave Sasson   3/13/2012 11:50:32 AM
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Counterfeit parts continue to plague industries with no end in sight. RFID, along with other technologies like machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, in which covert and overt tracking devices communicate on cellular and in some instances satellite networks can complement RFID and other passive and active tagging technologies.

Counterfeit parts, which are effectively inferior parts or even worse totally useless parts, are a major concern across many industries, not only the electronics industry. The pharmaceutical, chemical and medical industries continue to struggle with counterfeiting issues, which can be life threatening. Retailers are also plagued with counterfeiting within their supply chains. As supply chains become more global in nature with increased touch points, counterfeiting will continue to increase exponentially. Unfortunately counterfeiters are becoming smarter as well in their counterfeiting methods.

To help tackle these problems, companies, manufacturers and suppliers must implement effective asset tracking, track and trace, and in some instances advanced serialization systems. Implementing M2M technologies to assist in tracking and global positioning can enhance the level of security and visibility. These types of solutions will increase visibility within the supply chain and identify weak links that can be addressed and corrected. Companies at a minimum should be starting to investigate strategies and intelligent approaches in tackling counterfeiting.

 

 

opeters
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Stock Keeper
Anti-counterfeiting - Applied DNA Sciences
opeters   3/13/2012 12:14:53 PM
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Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) is currently working with the US Department of Defense on what might be the "cutting edge" in Anti-counterfeiting technology. Their initial trials, using botanical DNA, have proved very encouraging, and they have since entered into expanded studies with SMT and Altera. Please check them out and let me know what you think.

Douglas Alexander
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Blogger
Re: Anti-counterfeiting - Applied DNA Sciences
Douglas Alexander   3/13/2012 1:00:41 PM
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Openers, I will be writing about biotech for DNA applications. The tallest hurdle we will have to jump is mass authentication. The DNA ID is at the chip level and we have to be able to have low cost equipment and means for the small to mid-size companies as well. This field of research is too underfunded now and it will be up to private enterprise to crack this nut. There are some really great ceramic (MaterialsScience) technologies coming soon. Feel free to add your knowledge to this topic. The more we know, the better prepared we will all be to fight our personal anti-counterfeit battles.

Douglas Alexander
User Rank
Blogger
Re: The Battle Continues
Douglas Alexander   3/13/2012 1:11:01 PM
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Dave, No doubt you are correct. We may all end up with many parallel resources for counterfeit detection. There is a methodologies coupled with RFID, called rules based tracking that every company will be pressed into thoroughly verifying their supply chain partner's invulnerability to counterfeiting. Rules based tracks time and sequence as a product moves through the company's known supply lines. Still, that one-to-one exchange issue could be the biggest fly in the ointment. If some employee in the supply chain is compromised, then RFID tags could be switched at birth. Whose baby is it? The wrist band says it is mine, but it doesn't have my DNA.

Barbara Jorgensen
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Blogger
Counterfeiting
Barbara Jorgensen   3/13/2012 1:31:14 PM
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Douglas: Your anecdote about the RFID tags made me LOL, although I know that wasn't the intention. Here's why it struck me as ridiculous: we continue to develop technology that is supposed to help us protect our technology but we are being outdone by technology at every turn. After 20 years of watching this unfold, I am beginning to believe that there is a low-tech way to deal with this: make sure boards and chips are destroyed when they are supposed to be destroyed. Instead of a 60 minutes crew, install security cameras at disposal sites. Do unannounced spot visits and audits. Inspect the vehicles that are entering and leaving these sites. Increase the penalties for noncompliance. Sure, this will cost money, but not as much as equipping the entire electronics industry with RFID tags and scanning equipment. I am beginning to wonder whether the industry really wants to eliminate counterfeiting at all. After all, anti-counterfeiting technology seems to be a booming market.

And yes, counterfeiters may still build chips from scratch. But that has to be a drop in the bucket compared to the volume of recycled/refurbished chips that are available from scrap.

Douglas Alexander
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Counterfeiting
Douglas Alexander   3/13/2012 1:51:28 PM
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Barbara,

I bought a blender after watching a YouTube series "Will it blend?" I mean this blender took an iphone and ground it to black powder. It did occur to me that we should have giant crusher centers where all our E-Waste gets ground to powder and then the recyclable materials are reclaimed. However intriguing the idea of an e-Waste smoothie might be, I'm sure it is not practical. Maybe some other version, but I think a low tech solution that is universally accessible is the best solution of all. Now, what that is, well that is the $64,000 dollar question. I think I just dated myself.

rohscompliant
User Rank
Production Synthesizer
Authenticity testing???
rohscompliant   3/13/2012 2:30:14 PM
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Great Article! As an independent supplier of components here is what we face everyday..... we use test houses for authenticity testing of board level components. It is getting to the point where our highly reputable, "customer directed" test houses will not stand behind their own authenticity tests of a component. All after they have decapped, consulted w/ the mfg of the component and have done full functionality tests. This is not the case on every component that requires this testing but the incident rate is becoming more and more prevelant........and we are using test houses sanctioned and approved by milspec/aero OEMs which build for gvt contracts.................how do we combat this when the pro's won't guarantee authenticity??? Very frustrating .....yet challenging!

bolaji.ojo
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Blogger
Re: The Battle Continues
bolaji.ojo   3/13/2012 2:40:35 PM
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Douglas, You didn't address how pervasive counterfeiting is in the electronics industry. Could this be one reason why not too much attention is being paid to this problem? Or is it possible nobody wants to be known as the company whose products are targeted by counterfeiters?

Douglas Alexander
User Rank
Blogger
Re: The Battle Continues
Douglas Alexander   3/13/2012 3:11:38 PM
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Bolaji,

There may be some sensitivity as to who wants to admit in particular that they have a counterfeiting problem with their supplier, but it is not just limited to electronics as I am sure you are aware. I just had a short talk with a company that provides water distillation systems and they said they had a recurring problem with a pump source. At design Con I met a major connector company that said when his customers started complaining about poor product, it turned out that the connectors were bootlegged and the plating was radically different. The part marking was forged. I will be interviewing this vivtimized company's officer soon. I know that drugs, cosmetics, white goods, clothing, jewelery, watches, etc have been "knocked off" for years. How else could I explain owning two genuine Rolex watches that I purchased in Taiwan for $20 each back in the early 80's? When I took them to a watch maker here in the uS, he got out his loop and hemmed and grunted for awhile and then asked me if they were real. I could have purchased genuine Guchi leather goods for about the same price....from the next outdoor stall to the right. The problem is very significant in the Electronics industry because the techniques for counterfeiting run the gammet from factories running two legitimate shifts, with a third shift using less qualified workers and no QC, to empty IC packages...no die whatsoever. In the latter case, the counterfeiter has access to some pretty significant equipment. That means we're up against some big money and organized criminals with well established transport mechanisms.  

Douglas Alexander
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Authenticity testing???
Douglas Alexander   3/13/2012 3:18:09 PM
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Rohscompliant,

Boy! That is ugly! In the coming weeks, I will look at who shoulders the liability for counterfeit parts as it relates to the Supply Chain.. If there is no real accountability, then that implies the motivation level to resolve the problem may be lower than needed. Definitely worth exploring that issue. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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