Counterfeit components have become a multi-million dollar, yet undesirable, part of the electronics industry. The profitability of the counterfeit industry rests in large part on its ability to recognize supply constraints and quickly respond, effectively taking advantage of a complex and vulnerable supply chain. Factors such as product obsolescence, long life cycles, economic downturn and recovery, local disruptions in manufacturing due to natural disasters, and lack of proper IP legislation all represent opportunities for the counterfeit component industry to flourish. Electronic counterfeits affect every segment of the market, including consumer goods, networking and communications, medical, automotive, and aerospace and defense. In manufacturing, the use of undetected counterfeits can lead to increased scrap rates, early field failures, and increased rework rates; while this presents a major problem impacting profitability, the use of counterfeit components in high reliability applications can have far more serious consequences with severe or lethal outcomes.
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