Since the early 2020, we have seen headline after headline on the press and national media of the shortages of electronic components not only in the UK and mainland Europe but also in big electronic parts manufacturing countries in the Asia and America. This shortage which we know has been highly influenced by lockdowns due to the Covid pandemic and the demand certain products. Not forgetting the rules of commerce, the high demand and low supplies often tips the balance of trade and as a result fraudulent people take this opportunity to fill this gap using fake electronic components.
In this article, we will highlight the current state in the supply chain, what authorities in the industry are doing to support businesses and consumers and global market trends.
How do you identify genuine electronic components from knockoff?
If you are an OEM you have got to invest in high resolution microscopes to ensure that you don’t fall for knock reengineered parts. Your quality assurance team should be able to pick up the almost perfectly executed methodologies used in creating a like for like product just like the original. Some of the basic things they use are sanding of the serial numbers done by laser and black topping before commenting the new numbers on the fake products.
Some of the best microscopes will pick marking on components for analysing in crystal clear high detail and you could easily identify an original from a fake as they are perfect.
Alternatively, you could use robust electronic components search engines like oemsecrets.com to outsource your parts from authorised distributors and this will avoid these fake products entering the production line and ensure all end products are safe for the consumers.
Shortage of electronic components in UK
Just like in start of the new millennium when computer demand skyrocketed, and we saw an unprecedented shortage of much needed electronic components for production of personal computers. We are seeing much higher levels of this during this pandemic time with big semiconductors manufacturers having to increase capacity in their production plants to cater for the semiconductor demand. Manufacturers in Asia, Europe and America are tirelessly working with industries like the automotive and consumer electronics to ensure they keep the supply chain moving.
The big debates in topics like climate change are pushing produces to produce products that good for the environment and hence why we are seeing companies like Tesla growing at impeccable speeds which is also influencing the car battery industry that is now growing towards the $100 billion mark by 2025 and similar figures can be said for the mobile lithium-ion battery industry.
Raw materials play a big part as well. Battery production for example relies on special metals mined in specific parts of the world and if the lockdown affects the mining capacity, then allocation of these resources can make or break an industry with suppliers often seeing margins evaporate due to uncontrollable factors like these.
How will this parts shortage be addressed?
None of the suppliers want to be caught flat and this is where money starts being poured to various regions to boost capacity. A lot of suppliers are using local resources rather than focusing on those cheaper markets they used to outsource from to ensure they do not stall production. This is where fake parts tend to join the supply chain mainly because the normal channels are being stretched.
Anyway, apart from increased production by suppliers there isn’t much that can be done if demand is higher than production unless models like preorder start being used to help manufacturers work on these targets and allow just in time system.
The crisis in the supply chain has resulted in the emergence of fake electronic parts and this shortage will only fuel the use of this fake parts unless manufacturers invest more in speedier production lines and increase their capacity. However, they cannot do this single-handedly, they will need excavation of raw materials to be cranked up to meet OEM demands.
In short, every bit of the supply chain needs to work together to increase production and harmonise every step of the products lifecycle to ensure no knock off sip into the supply chain. By doing this, we ensure safe products enter the market and the industries name is kept clean unlike what has happened in the military with the discover of fake parts being used.
Article researched and written by www.electronicscomponents.co.uk writer James May