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About the disposal of counterfeit SMT patch components
About the disposal of counterfeit SMT patch components

About the disposal of counterfeit SMT patch components


According to an article published in the Daily Le Monde in 2016, the loss caused by counterfeit SMT electronic components was 309 billion euros in the 7th order of the industry’s total turnover in 2015, which is equivalent to 10% between € 21 billion Euros and 30 billion Euros. From destroying computers to destroying the integrity of complex systems (which cost millions of euros), these illegal copies pose a major risk to the entire industry.

   In order to deal with this growing phenomenon, researchers and manufacturers must compete with traffickers to be creative and find new combat strategies.

   The illegal copy market is booming

   At least one in two semiconductor companies have to deal with counterfeit products of their technology, and it is said that the number of copies in circulation has tripled since 2009. The aircraft manufacturer has determined that the counterfeit electronic circuits in its supply appear to be real, but are actually empty. In 2010, the US military took the lead in condemning this wave of illegal ingredients. The damaged component destroyed the infrared vision system of the helicopter, the deicing system of the patrol aircraft or the in-flight display of the transport aircraft.

pcb board

  Computer USB key is a topic to be discussed in 2016. The device is equipped with a DC-DC converter and a capacitor, responsible for the connection to send the waste to the landfill, thus destroying the PC's components. A Hong Kong company has copied this key and sold it for official use by IT security consultants.

  There is a problem with the faulty SMT electronic components. There are several obvious reasons:

  *Injury danger and fatal danger in certain sectors (medical, military, automobile)

  *There is a risk of fire when a short circuit occurs

  *Performance of modified products

  *The huge cost and loss of revenue in the SMT industry

   In order to copy components, counterfeiters use various techniques. They can try to obtain blueprints of electronic components through various espionage activities or reverse engineering to discover their secrets.

  Why counterfeit products flood the market

   The media often talk about counterfeiting in the luxury goods industry, but all industries are more or less affected by scale, and security risks fluctuate from product to product. Unlike the luxury goods industry, in the military, aviation, automotive or medical industries, no right of fault is allowed.

   There are many reasons for developing stolen electronic components:

  Globalization has greatly reduced the cost of acquiring technology

   Outsourcing of Asian production promotes technology transfer

   The interoperability of operating systems in IT has allowed the large-scale dissemination of information

  The freight giant has adjusted its products to make small parcel shipping more affordable

   Counterfeiting also comes from the production of electronic waste sent from developed countries to developing countries. Counterfeiters use this waste as raw material to obtain illegal copies of components.

  Technology used by illegal manufacturers: non-functional equipment, sandblasting and observation, black paint, replacement of equipment, use of waste products, forged labels, etc.

   Combating counterfeiting: control components

   check components

   The first thing to do is to carry out a series of tests and controls on SMT electronic components to ensure their integrity (AOI test, electrical, impedance, metallographic cutting or X-ray).

   X-ray machine can perform accurate and non-invasive inspection of mold, weld and delamination inspection. Then, just compare the manufacturer's specifications to verify the authenticity of the components. Following the same logic, the tolerances provided by the electrical testing of the suspicious components are sufficient to compare with the manufacturer's data. If the gap is too large, a more in-depth investigation should be conducted.

   If the height, length, and width are measured and compared with the manufacturer’s specifications, if the components are relative, the height, length, and width can also be inferred or not.

   find the interruption

  The method often used by counterfeiters to cover up the black dots is to hide the original serial number and reprint another mark on the top to mislead the purchaser. The naked eye cannot detect it, but a skilled eye can detect fraud under the microscope. Acetone can also be used to remove wrong marks.


   Ultimately, disassembling the component is invasive and therefore destructive. However, when all other tests fail to ensure compliance, this process is still the final solution to see what ingredients you have. Use a powerful microscope to check the authenticity of the manufacturer's trademarks, defective parts, typography and serial numbers.

  Prevent counterfeiting

  Buy directly from the SMT manufacturer

   Direct supply to the manufacturer seems to be a reliable solution to minimize risk. The increase of middlemen reduces transparency and increases risk.