Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, February 2014, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 645-652

Counterfeit capacitors in the supply chain

Anshul Shrivastava and Michael Pecht

Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA


Counterfeit electronic components have become a significant concern in the electronic parts supply chain. Original equipment manufacturers in particular are concerned about counterfeit components as there have been several recent reports of counterfeit parts entering the supply chain of the US military. This paper presents a case study of multilayer ceramic capacitors for use in a printed circuit assembly in an electronic system on a military aircraft. The capacitors failed during a high temperature screening test. Upon failure analysis it was revealed that the capacitors were not made to the correct specifications and were suspected to be counterfeit and not the authentic military grade capacitors manufactured by Kemet. Further investigation revealed that the suspect multi-layered ceramic capacitors had entered into the electronics parts supply chain and were sold as authentic Kemet capacitors that met the higher military-specified requirements. The manufacturing and distribution of the counterfeit capacitors were traced to locations where, according to Kemet, its authentic capacitors are neither manufactured nor distributed.

Complete article is available from the Publisher and to the CALCE Consortium Members.

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