Danger to life and property, IECQ CAP wages war against counterfeit components

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In response to the growing demand and need of the electronics supply chain, IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, launched a programme designed to address the international counterfeit crisis faced by the aerospace, defense and high performance (ADHP) sectors.

IECQ Counterfeit Avoidance Programme

Counterfeiting has proven to be a viable and lucrative industry in many areas of the world, specifically the counterfeiting of microcircuits used in electronic devices. These counterfeit components often originate from material meant to be recycled from e-waste programmes. The fraudulent components are often re-fabricated with cheap materials, improper assembly, substitute dye and then exposed to harsh environments that significantly reduce the life and reliability of such components.

Recently, there have been increases in counterfeit electronic parts entering the supply chain, posing significant performance, reliability, and safety risks worldwide. Militaries all over the world have admitted that thousands and in some cases millions of fake components have infiltrated their supply chain. Governments have investigated and found counterfeit electronic components that can pose extreme safety concerns to the public or soldiers in combat and can cause an unquantifiable amount of economic damage.

The IECQ CAP (Counterfeit Avoidance Programme) is a part of the long established IECQ Approved Process Scheme, which encompasses management processes associated with avoidance and mitigation for dealing with counterfeit or fraudulent electronic components. The scheme was designed for manufacturers and distributors.

First company to receive IECQ CAP certification

Secure Components, located in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA is an independent distributor specializing in sourcing no longer manufactured and hard to find components for the aerospace and defense industries. It is the first company to achieve Certification under the IECQ Counterfeit Avoidance Programme. “A proud achievement for Secure Components,” advises CEO Todd Kramer.

“The dramatic rise in counterfeit material, combined with an economy built on global trade over the past 5 to 10 years has led some of the world’s largest companies to seek an industry based solution to this growing epidemic of counterfeit components. Before IECQ CAP, industry had no reliable programme at an international level to ensure a company’s compliance to an effective counterfeit avoidance plan. A broker or distributor could claim compliance to systems without third party oversight or international recognition,” Kramer explains.

IECQ CAP Certificate of Conformity explained

The IECQ CAP Certificate of Conformity provides confidence internationally that manufacturers or distributors have the processes in place to manage counterfeit avoidance in the selection and use of components.

With IECQ CAP, manufacturers and distributors will be able to promote their products and services with more confidence as the Certification will be internationally recognized; obtain independent monitoring and verification of their components and systems, including their auditing system; benefit from advanced detection of potential technical problems in the supply chain; eliminate duplicate testing; and achieve easier acceptance by regulators and others in the supply chain in many countries.

What the future holds

In the future, IECQ CAP it is expected that other industries will make use of this International Scheme. Other industries may include telecommunications, biomedical and automotive.

“Counterfeiting is something that affects all industries across the board,” said Kramer. “Everyone is suffering from intellectual property being stolen and safety being compromised. Embracing this change will not only help business but more importantly this will increase the safety of the men and woman using the equipment.”

About IECQ

IECQ (IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components) is a worldwide approval and certification system that covers the supply, assembly, associated materials and processes of a large variety of electronic components that are used in millions of devices and systems. The IECQ Certification System provides manufacturers with independent verification that IEC International Standards and other specifications were met by suppliers who hold an IECQ certification. The avionics and increasingly other industries depend on the IECQ Electronic Component Management Plan to assess suppliers and safely manage their components’ supply chain also to avoid counterfeit merchandise. IECQ also allows manufacturers to more easily comply with increasingly strict hazardous substances regulations. IECQ operates five certification schemes: HSPM (Hazardous Substances Process Management), ECMP (Electronic Component Management Plan), AP (Approved Process), AC (Approved Component) and ITL (Independent Testing Laboratory). http://www.iecq.org.

About IEC

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies and administers Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that components, equipment, systems and in certain cases competence of persons that conform to them.

The IEC brings together 164 countries, and nearly 13 000 experts cooperate on the global IEC platform to ensure that products work everywhere safely with each other. IEC work enables global value chains; allows industry and companies of all sizes to access global markets faster and at less cost, and permits nations to better protect their citizens.

IEC work covers a vast range of technologies: power generation (including all renewable energy sources), transmission, distribution, Smart Grid, batteries, home appliances, office and medical equipment, all public and private transportation, semiconductors, fibre optics, nanotechnology, multimedia, information technology, and more. It also addresses safety, EMC, performance and the environment. http://www.iec.ch.

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Gabriela Ehrlich
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