The counterfeit threat remains a huge problem in the electronics industry and new statistics from industry analyst IHS point to its effect on the commercial as well as military supply chain.
According to an IHS report released this week, the five most prevalent types of semiconductors reported as counterfeits have widespread commercial and military use, representing $169 billion in potential annual risk for the global electronics supply chain.
The five most commonly counterfeited semiconductor types are analog integrated circuits (ICs), microprocessors, memory ICs, programmable logic devices, and transistors, according to IHS. Together, these five component groups accounted for slightly more than two-thirds of all counterfeit incidents reported in 2011, the report said.
What’s more, these commodities are used widely throughout all semiconductor applications, including computing, consumer electronics, wireless and wired communications, automotive, and industrial applications.
The report sheds light on counterfeit components problem in the commercial supply chain. Much of the media attention regarding counterfeit components has been on military applications. Last November’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the subject, for instance, prompted passage of new regulations surrounding anti-counterfeit detection and prevention. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, 2012, includes mandates for all levels of the supply chain to assess and act on counterfeit and suspected counterfeit electronic parts.
“There has been a great deal of focus on the issue of counterfeit parts in the defense industry, but the majority of reported counterfeit incidents are for commercial components, which have broad use across both military and commercial applications,” said Rory King, director, supply chain product marketing at IHS. “Take analog ICs, for example. One out of every four counterfeit parts reported are for analog ICs—components which are used in everything from industrial and automotive situations to wireless devices, computers, or consumer electronics. “
King adds that counterfeit components in commercial applications can cause a wide range of problems—from dropped phone calls to medical, automotive or aviation tragedies.
IHS reported earlier this year that 2011 was a record year for counterfeit reporting, noting that incidents of counterfeit parts have quadrupled over the last two years.