Counterfeit products are reported to have grown to a $600 billion business worldwide. The electronics assembly industry has been impacted, with reports of counterfeit feeders, spare parts and software causing equipment breakdowns and production delays. To assist IPC member companies in keeping their equipment and lines running, the Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association (SMEMA) Council of IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® is creating an “anti-counterfeit tool kit.” The first item in the tool kit is an advisory statement to customers to use only authorized channels for replacement parts and service, and reads:
The IPC Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association (SMEMA) Council is committed to delivering the industry -- their customers -- well running, safe, quality products to facilitate the continued growth of the electronics assembly industry.
Unfortunately, counterfeit inferior reworked, refurbished, and cannibalized parts and illegally transferred or copied software destroy the quality, reliability, safety and dependability of the equipment we proudly produce.
It is therefore the IPC SMEMA Council’s position that equipment and software warranty and support obligations should not apply where the customer has altered or modified equipment manufacturers' products without prior written approval, where damages have resulted from noncompliance with published operating procedures, or where the customer has used replacement parts or software not supplied by the manufacturer or authorized suppliers.
To highlight this potential problem for our customers, the IPC SMEMA Council urges its members to consider modification of their terms and conditions to emphasize that equipment manufacturers are not responsible for damage caused by counterfeit inferior reworked, refurbished, and cannibalized parts and illegally transferred or copied software and that use of such items will result in the warranty on the equipment being void.
We regret that some of our valued customers have been misled by producers and suppliers of counterfeit inferior reworked, refurbished, and cannibalized parts and illegally transferred or copied software but equipment manufacturers cannot be responsible for use of such items - which have neither been manufactured nor approved as to quality, reliability and safety. We urge the industry to avoid use of these items in order to avoid quality, reliability and safety issues as well.
SMEMA Council members are evaluating additional remedies to address the problems associated with counterfeit and inferior parts and unlicensed software, including increased cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and monitoring auction sites.
Bob Black, president and CEO of Juki Automation Systems and a member of the counterfeit subcommittee of the IPC SMEMA Council, said, “Counterfeit parts, nozzles, and feeders fall far short of our required specifications and have caused millions of dollars of rework due to poor yields. In some cases, serious damage to the machines themselves has occurred. Juki is proud to stand with the other members of IPC SMEMA Council against purveyors of counterfeit products who prey on our customers.”
For more information on the IPC SMEMA Council activities, including the anti-counterfeiting toolkit, contact Tony Hilvers, IPC vice president of industry programs, at TonyHilvers@ipc.org.
IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,900 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.85 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; and Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, China.