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In the past several months, there has been a lot of press coverage surrounding the use of counterfeit electronic components. This was further highlighted by the discovery of millions of counterfeit components being found in US military products.

Counterfeit components are created by the following process; broad removal, sanding, blacktopping and remarking followed by a detailed clean up of solder and the package to make it look legitimate. These components pose a real threat to the industry as once in a system, are highly likely to fail when being used. This is the reason that the discovery of them in military products has hit the industry so hard. The US military are implementing very tough procedures to help illuminate these components and punish those distributing them. electronic shops rr nagar

Using a High Resolution Microscope is one way in which electronic component suppliers can detect counterfeit components. This equipment can help reveal quality issues such as lead/ball alignment, ball height, part marking methodologies, laser burn, sanding marks and solder flaws. By testing for these signs a company can determine whether a component has been legitimately made, or has been tampered with and resold (counterfeit).

A high resolution microscope such as the Keyence VHX600 series is designed to provide ultra-deep and high definition observation. This equipment can provide 3D images which increase the level of depth a component can be viewed in, multi-angle imaging, real time improvement and built in display. This sophisticated technology allows a user to view a component in a multitude of ways to determine its authenticity.

The microscope will be used to examine the markings on the components in a high detail. Components that are not counterfeit should be completely immaculate with precise and identical markings. Although some counterfeit suppliers are very skilled in hiding their work, many are lacking quality equipment to perform a good job.

If a component has a small hole in it, small enough that only a microscope could detect it, then this is a sign that the component has been tampered with. A counterfeit component would have been sanded down to scratch of any original laser markings. This leaves the surface of the component very thin. When they then go to re-do the laser inscriptions the laser can then occasional burn small holes through the component where it is so thin.

Other ways a supplier can monitor electronic component quality include, X-ray, ED-XRF and Decap. One form of this testing can sometimes not be enough. A supplier should have a multitude of ways to check their components. If you are about to use a new supplier or distributor of electronic components it is good practise to confirm with them what quality assurance systems they have in place.

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