At Creative Electron, counterfeit detection is in our DNA. We became pioneers in the electronic component inspection market by helping manufacturers and distributors to validate parts and secure their supply chains. Electronic components have long been fertile ground for counterfeiters who seek to exploit shortages caused by demand for obsolete or hard to find components. Early on, our team recognized the contribution that X-ray inspection could make to combating counterfeiters, and it proved to be the most effective tool where 100% validation is required, not least because of it is non-destructive.
It has been interesting to see counterfeiting evolve over the years, from recycled components being crudely re-marked to carefully mimicked components who’s packaging and markings are virtually indistinguishable from OEM. We are ever excited by the challenge to evolve faster than the counterfeiters, and with tools such as autonomous X-ray inspection systems, we continue to help manufacturers stay ahead of some pretty creative and determined criminals. Our interest in stopping counterfeiters hasn’t been limited to electronic components; it’s lead to developing systems for identifying counterfeit consumer goods, such as phones. Beyond electronics, we have worked with luxury fashion accessories, watches, jewelry, shoes and more. There seems to be no limit to the imaginations of counterfeiters, and there is certainly no limit to ours. The following are a couple of interesting examples.
Strange Parts’ Scotty Allen dropped by Creative Electron with his Samsung smart phone crafted entirely of parts gathered in Shenzhen’s electronics market. He assembled it of what he believed to be used OEM parts, and it wasn’t until he saw his phone in a TruView™ X-ray system that he learned that he could clearly see the differences of his labor as well as the components he used. Scotty’s video is a great example of how X-ray inspection can combat counterfeiting of high cost electronics.
Interestingly, it isn’t just the highly coveted and costly electronics that are the marks of counterfeiters. Oliver Start of Oliver’s blog showed us just how mundane counterfeit products can be when he sent us a fake Apple Lightning to headphone jack adapter that he had unsuspectingly purchased online. Despite its near perfect packaging and outward appearance, our X-ray inspection easily distinguished between the real and the fake. The fact that counterfeiters would go to such lengths to copy this $9.00 accessory speaks volumes about the lengths to which counterfeiters will go to make a buck.
It’s these experiences, among others, that motivate us to continue innovating. Our TruView™ Prime R2R has been a mainstay in the fight against counterfeit electronic components. The fact that it is in its sixth generation is a testament to our determination to out innovate the bad guys. We continue to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry, taking feedback from our customers to the whiteboard and beyond, and imagining the features a seventh generation system will need to win the day.