Standard to deter counterfeit electronics nears completion

Silicon chipA new standard designed to help manufacturers avoid procuring counterfeit electronic components is in the latter stages of development and could be available by the end of this month.

SAE International - a global association of experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries - has been working on the AS5553A standard since May 2010.

The Counterfeit Electronic Parts; Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition standard is intended for use in aviation, space, defense, and other high performance/reliability electronic equipment application, according to SAE International, and standardises requirements, practices and methods for minimising the risk of inadvertently procuring fake components.

It was created in response to "a significant and increasing volume of counterfeit electronic parts entering the aerospace supply chain, posing significant performance, reliability, and safety risks", said the group.

Among the elements covered by the new standard are risk mitigation methods in electronic design and parts management, supplier management, procurement, part verification, material control, and response strategies when suspect or confirmed counterfeit parts are discovered.

SAE International is holding a symposium and training on the AS5553 standard on June 5 in Norwalk, California, which will be run by Phil Zulueta, the chair of the SAE G-19 Counterfeit Electronic Parts Committee. Registration and more information can be found here.

The standard comes at an opportune time as news headlines continue to point to high levels of counterfeiting of components, with IHS suggesting towards the end of last year that almost 10,000 suppliers to the US government were reported for suspected involvement in fake parts and other illegal activities.

US Senator Carl Levin - who serves as chair as of the Committee on Armed Services - recently said there could be as many as one million counterfeit components in the Department of Defense's supply chains, affecting critical systems such as Navy helicopters and the Air Force cargo planes.

Meanwhile, NASA's head of procurement Steven Foster said in November that counterfeiting is the agency's "number one challenge", forcing it to engage in "extensive activities to mitigate risk".

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