Counterfeiting of electronic components can refer to a variety of activities. It could be as simple as re-marking scrapped or stolen or possibly nonworking parts, or as complex as illegally manufacturing complete parts from original molds or designs. A counterfeit part may be relabeled and appear to come from a different manufacturer or to appear to be a newer or older, but more sought-after, component than it actually is. Visually, it is usually hard to tell the counterfeit part from the real thing. The most insidious and most prevalent kinds of counterfeits are either sold as legitimate brand-name goods or become components in otherwise legitimate products. Counterfeiters often go to great lengths to duplicate materials, part numbers, and serial numbers so that their wares match those of authentic products. But the problem isn’t just with counterfeit parts; defective or outdated products get circulated as well. Some parts made by branded manufacturers are deemed either defective or substandard and are destined for the scrap yard. But they never make it there: They’re stolen, re-marked, repackaged and resold. Other components simply expire and are slated for scrap but instead are sold as excess.
4 Star Electronics understands how big of a problem this really is and how much time and money is wasted by counterfeit products. This is why we have put a complex process in place to prevent counterfeit products from reaching our end customers. Through intensive training and participation in industry associations helping to fight counterfeiting, 4 Star has stayed at the forefront of anti-counterfeiting technology. As we all know, this problem is not going to go away, but employing intensive screening methods, we can reduce the impact on the supply chain.
As you are probably aware there is a big ongoing problem with the pollution of counterfeit electronics and semiconductor components flooding the marketplace, and it has been on the rise over the last few years. Companies doing business in China are especially prone to this problem since, in part, enforcement of laws regarding counterfeiting and Intellectual Property theft is poor in China. In addition, China has been rapidly building up its electronics and semiconductor infrastructure with knowledgeable and experienced engineers and managers and by building state-of-the-art semiconductor labs. This increasing capability to produce competitive product implies, among other things, an improved capability to produce counterfeits of higher value, more complex devices. "Buyer Beware" has never been more important in the electronics industry.
At 4 Star, we've been battling the proliferation of counterfeit electronics for over ten years. We've built a state-of-the-art lab equipped with equipment such as digital cameras and microscopes, XRF analyzers for material composition and RoHS verification, programmers, real-time X-Ray machines for internal inspection, mechanical and chemical de-capsulation tools for die inspection, and we're staying at the forefront of the industry by adding more equipment and training as counterfeiting evolves. Over the next several months, we'll be implementing functional and parametric electrical test capabilities to our repertoire.
In-house inspection capabilities include:
- Manufacturer Packaging and Label Inspection with Barcode Verification
- Reported non-conformities & risk assessment check against industry databases
- Manufacturer Datasheet, Drawings, and Specification Validation
- Proprietary Photo Resource Library Check
- Digital Imagery of Components
- Optical Microscopy of Components
- Component Surface Testing (acetone, blade, and heated chemical tests)
- Marking Permanency Testing
- XRF Spectrum Analysis, including RoHS Compliance
- X-Ray Analysis
- X-Ray Comparison, when golden sample is provided
- Mechanical or Chemical De-capsulation and Die Examination
- Capacitance and Resistance Testing
- Electrical Comparison Testing / Curve Trace
- Blank Checking and Continuity Testing of programmable parts
- Solderability Testing
- Comprehensive Electrical Testing, coming soon!
4 Star Electronics uses several customer satisfaction measurements to determine our performance in the marketplace with distributors, major customers, and end users of our products. Some of these measurements include customer surveys, on-time delivery reports, and customer complaints. This allows us to have accurate and timely information on our performance, and allows us to make corrections at multiple levels to provide continual improvement and complete customer satisfaction.
Registrations and Accreditations
- AS9100:2009 Rev C Certified
- ISO 9001:2008 Certified
- AS5553A and AS6081 Compliant
- ANSI/ESD S20.20:2007 Certified
- IDEA-QMS-9090 Certified
- IDEA-ICE-3000 Certified Inspectors
- Components Technology Institute (CTI) CCAP-101 Trained
- FAA AC00-56A Accredited
- Boeing Counterfeit Electronics Parts Avoidance (CEPA) certified
- Independent Distributors of Electronics Association (IDEA) member
- ERAI member
- SAM (System for Award Management) registered
- Government Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) participant
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registered
- Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) member
- Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA) member