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ACF Blog-Its really not just China!
July 2023

Suspected Counterfeit testing lead times.

It is no surprise that the latest ERAI report confirms a surge in reported counterfeits since many companies and suppliers are still experiencing significant shortages. The report lists the most counterfeited parts and suppliers as well as latest trends that have changed significantly.

Be careful to recognise how soon you will receive assessed parts and not make optimistic promises to get on with the next supply chain crisis. Suspected counterfeits require additional due diligence.

Standard test turn arounds of two weeks are being reported at typically closer to six weeks and backlogs are still substantial.

It is vitally important to add the test time to the quoted lead times as well as the shipping time- depending on the location of the stock.

Logistics in recent years have been very slow from Asia generally and off course Brexit has not helped with shipments from nearby Europe.

When assessing your non-franchised component suppliers you may want to seek assurances on their inhouse test capability or how quickly they are able to get non traceable or suspected counterfeit parts assessed by test houses.

Many of these specialist distributors have invested in significant capabilities by purchasing X-ray, XRF, Microscopes, Oscilloscopes, and other test equipment.

This investment in resources is enabling the larger non-franchised distributors to grow at the expense of smaller but possibly equally conscientious suppliers. We can expect a reduction in these suppliers as a result.

Readers are advised to look at the numerous risk-based SAE standards that help you decide how far to test various parts. You also need to regularly audit your chosen specialist distributors in accordance with your quality standards.

If you have sufficient time available it is worth looking into specialist aftermarket suppliers that may be able to offer a newly manufactured part with support from the original manufacturer. Several companies exist in this area. You may experience a long lead time but a much lower risk solution.

Also remember that it is a crime to return suspected counterfeits to the seller as you are enabling them to deceive somebody else- you become an accomplice!

Once again, we must remind readers that original manufacturers revise parts and move manufacturing locations frequently so a different look is not necessarily a counterfeit.

During the recent SMTA/Calce/ACF Counterfeit symposium held in the UK a number of innovative improvements to the test processes were discussed.

These included desktop 3D X Ray machinery, use of PCB assembly camera systems with machine learning and the use of AI to improve detection. It is too early to judge adoption rates and how successful each creative and clever solution will become.

ERAI Report for interest. 2022 Annual Report (erai.com)

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