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Counterfeit electronic components hit record level in 2011

Last year was a record year for reports of counterfeit components, acccording to market researcher IHS iSuppli. Five types of semiconductor accounted for more than 66% of all counterfeit incidents. Between them, the five groups represent a potential annual risk of $169million.

While analogue ics, microprocessors, memories, plds and transistors represent a major part of the counterfeit problem, IHS has reports of counterfeiting for more than 100 types of device. In fact, the company says the incidence of counterfeiting has tripled in the last two years.

Rory King, director, supply chain product marketing at IHS, said: "One out of every four counterfeit part reported is an analogue ic – a component used in everything from industrial and automotive situations to wireless devices, computers, or consumer electronics.

"A faulty counterfeit analogue ic can cause problems ranging from a mundane dropped phone call to a serious tragedy," he noted. "Furthermore, the excessive cost of rework, repair, and customer returns for component failures is significant. For the global electronics supply chain, tackling the problem of counterfeit and fraudulent components has become an issue of paramount importance."

Graham Pitcher

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