The Secret Service was created in 1865 to prevent and investigate counterfeit U.S. currency. For clients of NPI Services, Inc., however, most concerns about counterfeiting center on electronic components. Counterfeit parts are unauthorized copies or substitutes knowingly misrepresented by a supplier in the supply chain. These include used parts misrepresented as new, parts that are mismatched to the order requirement, intentionally mislabeled, not constructed according to specifications, and/or failing to pass completion testing from the manufacturer. Sometimes the deception is detected during testing by the recipient or other party further along the supply line. Occasionally, the fraud is detectable by visual inspection. But detecting counterfeit electronic components is typically much more difficult than detecting even the most sophisticated counterfeit currency. The discovery often follows a worst-case scenario in which the fraud is uncovered during the post-mortem of a failed system, a failure that may have dreadful consequences.
Being the victim of counterfeiters of electronic parts, currency, or Gucci bags is no fun. Although you can easily Google the “Gucci” bags and phony bucks, avoiding victimization by suppliers of counterfeit electronic components requires knowledge of your supply chain for each item on your bill of materials (BOM). Every supplier in the chain must meet quality standards. Suppliers should be original component manufacturers, their franchised distributors, or quality-approved vendors. Each supplier must be able to meet whatever certification and traceability requirements are needed to ensure that parts provided are original, authentic and in conformance with your order.
NPI’s quality management system (QMS) thrwarts threats of counterfeit components. NPI Services, Inc. is a certified AS9100 Rev. C, ISO 13485:2003, and ISO 9001:2008 business. NPI Services has the experience and QMS that brings peace of mind and quality you can trust, from component kitting to full turnkey services. We purchase certified components from approved quality sources to minimize risks posed by counterfeit parts. Besides quality, NPI’s value also includes the convenience and economy of a single purchase order for everything you need. Many clients already having a certified QMS in place choose NPI Services simply because they appreciate NPI’s convenience and economy, particularly for their quick turn electronic prototypes.
P.S. A good quick read about the risks of counterfeit electronics is The Hidden Dangers of Chop-Shop Electronics posted last September on IEEE Spectrum. UCLA Professor and Brooking Institution Senior Fellow John Villasenor, and UConn Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Mark (Mohammad) Tehranipoor co-authored this readable and informative article.