How to Combat Counterfeit Parts in Your Government PCB Assembly
The world of counterfeit electronic parts is a multibillion-dollar industry that doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It is a problem the Department of Defense has been battling for years. Counterfeit components put military personnel and missions at risk. In an effort to mitigate this risk, the DOD has strict regulations in place for government and military electronic suppliers. This means you must be vigilant when it comes to the assembly of your printed circuit boards. Luckily, with extra time and effort, and choosing the right contract manufacturer, you can combat counterfeit parts in your government PCB assembly.
Under Department of Defense regulations, contractors must “establish and maintain an acceptable counterfeit electronic part detection and avoidance system." Failure to do this may result in losing your government contract or your payment for services being withheld. A good way to comply with this is independent testing of components. This can include visual inspection, x-ray, electrical tests, scanning acoustic microscopy, and decapsulation. And don't just test parts. Take it a step further and have the validity of your suppliers’ environmental and regulatory compliance certifications checked as well.
Establish a Formal Review Process
Another way to protect your PCB Assembly from counterfeit components is to establish a formal product review. The review should be made up of upper management, engineering, and project team members. Make sure those who work with product design adhere to manufacturing quality standards and that all product safety codes are included. This review is responsible for establishing and ensuring regulatory compliance. They should review DOD standards and protocols and put a series of checks and balances in place to be sure all governmental standards are being met.
Know your Suppliers and Their Suppliers
The Department of Defense puts a heavy emphasis on its contractors focusing on supply chain protection. This means your ECM is required to have an established network of trusted and thoroughly vetted suppliers. Be sure to see proof of the supplier’s track record. Also take the time to check quality control practices. Find out where materials are sourced and what they do to ensure quality. Sticking with OEM-approved distributors is always a good idea. And trust the old saying "let the buyer beware." If the price is too good to be true, the parts are probably fake.
As counterfeiting components continues, it’s extremely important that you stay vigilant to protect your PCB assembly. You need high quality parts to manufacture a high-quality product that meets government standards. This can only be guaranteed by working with a high-quality ECM. Levison Enterprises is that company. We have several successful projects for the FAA, Department of Defense, and several other government agencies under our belts. We understand stringent regulations and ensure the highest quality that these projects demand. Contact Levison today to see how we can assist with your next project.