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How Electronic Component Inspections Are..
How Electronic Component Inspections Are Conducted
When receiving incoming electronic components, it is always important inspections are conducted to ensure that parts are not counterfeit or are non-conforming. This is beneficial to ensure optimal production flow, and to ensure that customers and clients receive high quality electronic components that they may rely on. There are various methods of inspecting electronics, ranging from simple cross-referencing to more complex DNA marking. In this blog, we will discuss how electronic components are inspected through various methods, as well as the tools used to conduct such tests.
Counterfeit electronics have consequences that affect everyone from consumers to the government, posing a risk to the electronics supply chain that enables us to have reliable phones, computers, critical commercial and defense systems, and much more. Thus, it is paramount that there are methods in place to ensure that failures and safety risks are mitigated through proper inspection. In general, counterfeit parts are those that are created to deceive and infringe upon trademark laws, intended to appear like parts that they are not.
One simple method that electronic part manufacturers and receiving parties carry out to mitigate the flow of counterfeit parts is to conduct an external visual inspection. To execute this procedure, all raw materials are inspected and verified through cross referencing purchase orders and packing slips from suppliers, as well as confirming conformance to set requirements. If a problem is found and an electronic component does not pass inspection, it is rejected and segregated into a holding area. At this point, quality control representatives may determine whether the part may be acceptable for use, requires reworking, or will be scrapped altogether.
DNA marking is a much more thorough method of quality control, required by entities such as the Department of Defense for high-risk micro circuits and other critical electronic components. DNA markings are unique marks that have been placed on a component by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that cannot be copied by anyone else, and this marking can be inspected for compliance. Another method of inspection is through utilizing x-ray technology, allowing the inspecting party to compare internal structures while cross-referencing them to a specific authentic sample for quality control. While the naked eye may miss minute details of counterfeit items, internal structural differences such as dissimilar wire binding or die frames can easily be found with X-rays. If the electronic component in question is a semiconductor, decapsulation may also be used. This method includes the removal of external packaging, allowing for the semiconductor wafer to be exposed so laser die etching may be checked.
Other types of inspections include various chemical methods such as heated acid exposure or mechanical methods such as cutting, cracking, or chopping. Through sanding, blackmarking, upscreening, remarking, and other methods, counterfeit items can be made to pose as an OEM part. As counterfeit materials pose more of a problem to supply chains, both OEM and government agencies seek to improve upon their methods of detecting such issues to further protect industries and consumers alike.
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