Computer

Effects of the chip shortage, do we buy counterfeit products?

It was to be expected, on the one hand, that counterfeit products in terms of chips would reach manufacturers and assemblers, but on the other hand, the demand is causing that since there is not enough supply, many companies are not verifying if said chips are original. Now it is becoming the case that we can buy a totally original product and that it includes components that are not such, almost perfect copies, of low quality and less durability, which has serious connotations in the final product. Is this really happening today?

Supply, demand, counterfeiting and subsequent deterioration or breakage

What has been experienced in our country with its total closure for a period of time is almost the daily bread in companies in Asia. Industrial cities have strong measures against COVID and as such partial closures are the order of the day.

This implies that in many cases there is no adequate supply and production, which affects sales to the point that TOP companies worldwide are launching stock of discontinued products to try to alleviate the blow of sales that they are not doing with new products.

This chip shortage has a rather sinister dark focus, and it is that in the face of the global shortage, criminals are entering the market for low and high level electronic components. All electronics companies have a shortage of some component, for different reasons, and here right now the counterfeiters are doing their particular August. Counterfeiting an iPhone is complicated, it requires decent materials, an operating system, hardware integration and study of the same, but making specific chips for said smartphone … It is much easier.

Cheaper, faster to manufacture, and uncontrolled by scarcity

Ftdi-FT232RL-real-vs-fake

Therefore, producing functional chips is generally much cheaper and that is where counterfeiters are targeting. If a company needs 5000 chips for tomorrow and requests them from another company with which it is working, it is difficult to show that the latter is not including part of the chips with lower quality than the original, especially if the company requesting them does not pass any verification due to lack of time.

The Electronic Resellers International Association (ERAI) is detecting an increase in counterfeit parts in the supply chain, all despite the fact that chips by design have a number of characteristics to avoid being counterfeit, but even that they are copying today.

This does not seem to affect large companies that do not work with distributors, but with manufacturers directly, but only with those who manufacture all the chips from scratch and do not depend on third parties. This is causing the components that are created to either not function as well as expected, or to have lower durability or power leakage problems, to name a few examples.

The doubt lies in the fact that if certain companies are aware of this and are knowingly buying the worst quality or benefits, mainly because it is more expensive for them to keep the production lines stopped than to face costs due to lawsuits, product recalls or replacements. . Sad, but it seems that if this continues we will have problems even with original products, so we will have to be attentive to these movements in the industry.

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