SMT & Inspection | January 27, 2010

New technology to find counterfeit components

SonoLab, the applications laboratory division of Sonoscan, has recently developed analytical techniques that bring to 25 the number of acoustically detectable features and characteristics used to separate counterfeit plastic IC packages from genuine packages.
“The increase in useful tools is the result of our growing base of experience in separating counterfeit components from genuine parts – often within a mixed lot shipment,” said SonoLab manager Ray Thomas. “Our laboratories are seeing more questionable parts because the industry has become much more interested in weeding out counterfeit parts. Ideally, engineers have known genuine parts to which they can compare incoming parts.”

Identifying a counterfeit component may be straightforward, he added, but is often more complex. Part of the problem is that counterfeiters are becoming more skilled at making their knock-offs resemble genuine components. Using a greater number of acoustic techniques increases the confidence factor when separating genuine parts from fake parts. Measuring two or three parameters may suggest that a part is genuine or fake, but having a menu of 25 items on hand makes it much easier to make clear distinctions.

“Identifying counterfeit parts may involve multiple disciplines - optical inspection, acoustic imaging, and sometimes X-ray,” he noted. “Acoustic imaging is especially convincing because it has the flexibility to go after hard-to-imitate features and material characteristics such as acoustic impedance, filler particle distribution and bond integrity.”


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