Counterfeit Detection Strategies: When and How to Do it

Counterfeit Detection Strategies: When and How to Do it


Counterfeit components are a concern throughout the electronics industry. Most information about counterfeit parts is related to electronic components; however, other types of commodities, such as circuit breakers, fasteners, and valves are also counterfeited. Though they may look like the real thing, counterfeit components will not perform as reliably and, if undetected, could cause catastrophic failure at a critical moment in commercial, medical or military applications.


Current detection methodologies include visual inspection, mechanical robustness, X-Ray, XRF, C-SAM, Infrared Thermography, electrical characterization, decapsulation, and marking evaluations. Because the counterfeiters are getting better, many of the current non-destructive visual techniques may not be able identify real ones from fakes. Planning ahead is key. Your strategies for component obsolescence part management (or Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages – DMSMS) should have anti-counterfeit processes embedded in them. Incorporating anti-counterfeit procedures when you design for reliability, manufacturing, and supportability will reduce your risk.


DfR Solutions works with industry to continue to refine detection methodologies. In the meantime, we can help you reduce the risk of counterfeit parts entering your products through your supply chain with tailored solutions that could include:

  • Gap analysis   – between your current anti-counterfeiting processes versus current industry best practices. Includes an assessment on how anti-counterfeiting processes are addressed through design for reliability, design for manufacturing, and design for supportability
  • Awareness training – for management and procurement or purchasing professionals
  • Detailed identification training   – for incoming inspection personnel
  • DfR Solutions testing – ranging from Visual/X-ray audits of suspected counterfeits to full scale characterization testing of every part over the full temperature range
  • Failure analysis of failed components   – design, workmanship, overstress, or was it counterfeit?
  • Independent and objective assistance with supplier and manufacturing audits – using known verified suppliers reduces the risk of counterfeit
  • Risk versus cost impact analysis – Our knowledge base can help identify and mitigate issues before suspect components get installed into a product and fail test, thus reducing your costs significantly. For new electronic devices, anti-counterfeit measures can be designed into the part to make forgery more difficult.


DfR Solutions’ skills in design management also help in counterfeit prevention for legacy components used in repairable long-life products (military, medical, industrial, transportation). Manufacturers should monitor and manage product and component lifetime to identify wearout or remaining useful life before the end of the overall product’s lifetime.


The infiltration of counterfeit components into electronics design is a growing concern as demand increases for reducing production costs. DfR Solutions’ expertise in counterfeit detection methods and strategies can help your company spot a fake, saving time, money, and avoiding critical failures.