Bannockburn, Ill. The Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers Association (SMEMA) Council of IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries is creating an “anti-counterfeit tool kit” to help mitigate the problem of counterfeit feeders, spare parts and software in the electronics assembly industry, which has caused equipment breakdowns and production delays. IPC says the counterfeit market is estimated to be a $600 billion business worldwide.
The first item in the tool kit is an advisory statement to customers to use only authorized channels for replacement parts and service. The statement reads as follows:
“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 other solutions 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.
Other tools might be ways that equipment manufacturers can take to remove counterfeit components from websites, said Tony Hilvers, IPC vice president of industry programs.
“And later, we will develop ways assembly equipment customers can assure themselves they are using approved parts,” Hilvers added. “The best way of dealing with counterfeit parts is to work directly with the equipment manufacturer or their authorized dealer.”
The toolkit will be made available online.