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Project to develop inspection system for counterfeit components

Connect no. 169

On the 19 October 2010 the EU FP7 project ChipCheck began. This two year project, involving eight partners comprising both SMEs and research institutes and led by TWI NDT Validation Centre (Wales), seeks to develop an inspection system for the automatic detection of counterfeit electronic components at the Goods Inwards point. Manufacturers are currently not able to check all components at this stage.

Counterfeit electronic components are defined as 'substitutes or unauthorised copies, a product where the materials used or its performance has changed without notice, or a substandard component misrepresented by the supplier'.


Counterfeit components are a growing issue to the electronics industry and the cost to electronics manufacturers of inadvertently purchasing counterfeit components includes lost yield, field failures, product recalls and damage to reputation as well as the all-important safety issue. Despite taking extra precautions when sourcing components for safety critical electronic systems, there have been reports of counterfeit components entering the supply chains in both the defence and aerospace industries.

Dr Ian Nicholson, project leader for ChipCheck, is asking if TWI Members can help.

He said: 'To allow us to develop the inspection system we need to obtain as many electronic components as possible. The source of the component will be kept completely anonymous. Ideally these will be unused, but could be parts removed from an assembly. We are interested in receiving all package types and sizes to make sure the system and the software recognition is capable of comparing the range of parts used in industry. The main focus will be surface mount, however dual in-line parts will also be assessed.'

The final goal of the project is to produce a prototype inspection system to automatically inspect components in their original packaging.

If you are able to provide sample parts, or would like further information, then please contact

For more information please email: