Lean Digital Thread: AI Wields Powerful Weapon in Counterfeit Components

The world is still very much in the middle of a pandemic that has been altering the global economy in multiple ways. For starters, millions of employees suddenly found themselves needing to have the technical resources to work from home, their children had to start attending elementary school via Zoom, and as a result, the demand for technology has seen a spike to unprecedented levels.

One would think that such demand for laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices would be a boon to the economy, but the truth is that this demand has plagued the global economy with another problem—a severe shortage of electrical components.

The shortage of electrical components did not become a problem in 2020 simply because of a global pandemic; electrical component shortages have been putting pressure on manufacturers for at least the last three years. 

The shortage of electrical components in 2020 was perhaps most keenly felt due to tariffs that were placed on imported goods from China paired with the mandatory shutdowns at many factories in the United States.

This supply-demand imbalance creates a vacuum for counterfeiting enterprises which see the electronic component shortage as a wonderful opportunity to make some quick cash. Counterfeit components are filling supply chain gaps with sub-par, recycled, and otherwise counterfeit components as desperate manufacturers continue to frantically scour for electronic components without administering the appropriate supply chain vetting procedures.

The serious issues with the presence of counterfeit electrical parts in otherwise reputable devices hardly needs explanation. However, the harsh liabilities these companies take upon themselves by using counterfeit electrical components (whether knowingly or not) is worth explaining here.

The presence of counterfeit electrical components in any product exposes companies to significant liability because these products are much more likely to malfunction than products that are built entirely with genuine electrical components, due largely to the lower quality of the counterfeit electrical parts.

Your tablet malfunctioning can be frustrating enough. It is only when the presence of counterfeit electrical components poses real danger to consumers that it merits the attention this problem truly deserves. Certain products could cause physical harm to consumers if a counterfeit component failed. Equally disturbing, if a counterfeit electrical component caused a product to malfunction or short-circuit, one could be looking at the very real possibility of a fire and loss of life. 

The presence of counterfeit parts in medical devices is perhaps the most troubling, and it is a very real possibility in the current market. If a medical device does not perform as it was designed due to a counterfeit or fake electrical component, it may not yield accurate test results, and that could directly harm patients.

The financial impact of counterfeit is no less disturbing, especially in the semiconductor market; an industry that loses as much as $250 billion annually because of counterfeit components.    

Counterfeits show up in virtually any industry, and companies that work with electronic equipment need to have the technology in place to avoid fakes and detect counterfeit electronic components that found their way into the factory.

One company offering an incredibly adaptable solution to the widespread problem of counterfeit electrical components is Cybord. 

Cybord’s software solution, Cybord SMT, physically tests 100% of every product's components by analyzing each component’s photo, which is already taken today by SMT pick and place equipment. The software verifies authenticity, solderability condition, external defects, and tampering concerns. 

Cybord SMT achieves this by using advanced artificial intelligence algorithms and big data to make sure no counterfeit parts or hardware cyber components get integrated into larger product parts. 

Companies find multiple value points in Cybord’s software throughout the product’s lifecycle. Early defect detection (pre-reflow) means that first pass yield rate is improved, and fewer internal failure costs are incurred. Products free of counterfeits fail less and minimize external failure costs. Cyber-tampering inspection helps in reduction of security threats in the field, and component analytics let companies optimize their recall criteria and perform surgical recalls and save significant expenses.

A combination of thoroughly vetting the resources in your supply chain along with the integration of Cybord SMT software is one of the most reliable strategies for protecting company investments and products from the damage that can be caused by counterfeit electrical components. Supply chain contamination risks should not be ignored and can now be minimized using software. Please contact me at sagi_reuven@mentor.com for more information.

Sagi Reuven is a business development manager for the electronics industry at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Check out this additional content from Siemens Digital Industries Software:

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2021

Lean Digital Thread: AI Wields Powerful Weapon in Counterfeit Components

04-13-2021

The world is still very much in the middle of a pandemic that has been altering the global economy in multiple ways. For starters, millions of employees suddenly found themselves needing to have the technical resources to work from home, their children had to start attending elementary school via Zoom, and, as a result, the demand for technology has seen a recent spike to unprecedented levels.

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2020

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