Key Tips: Detecting Counterfeit Components in Aerospace Applications

03-04-2024 | By AERI

There are over 45,000 FAA-managed daily flights in the US alone. If you look at the global passenger industry, that number jumps up to over 100,000 flights. These are people traveling to Costa Rica for vacation, Des Moines for family, or Japan for a new cultural experience.

Of course, the aerospace industry is not limited to commercial flights. There are many other flight applications that expand across all sectors, from military to deep space exploration. In all these cases, dealing with counterfeit electronic components is a serious concern. Risking incorporating substandard counterfeit items that can threaten the integrity or safety of your aerospace systems leads to significant financial losses and even the potential of lives of family, friends, and team members.

Let’s explore a quick overview of counterfeit products and how the team at AERI uses advanced technology and quality assurance standards to prevent counterfeit products from ever reaching our clients.

Understanding the Threat

Every sector of the aerospace industry maintains strict requirements for the components within their products. This ensures total reliability and performance when these items are needed most. Without such stringent requirements, components can risk a project’s integrity and the safety of its participants. Unfortunately, plenty of counterfeiters are out there doing their best to mimic the unique attributes of in-demand components. While most of these operations are organised and products shipped from mainland China, infiltrating the market to uncover and avoid bad actors is a constant struggle.

Without well-established systems in place, reputable vendors risk distributing such items to their clients. AERI uses the strictest systems to prevent the distribution of counterfeit components from occurring. We are certified to SAE’s AS6081 (Independent Distributor’s Counterfeit Detection Standard), AS9120 (Aerospace Distributor Standard), IDEA-QMS-9090 (QC Standard for Independent Distribution), ANSI/ESD S20.20 (Electrostatic Discharge Protection), and we also offer AS6171 testing (Aerospace Standard for Counterfeit Testing of Electronic Components).

Essential Tools for Detection

At AERI, we use a variety of tools and systems to stop the spread of counterfeit electronic components. These include:

  • Microscopic testing, with at least 30X magnification to ensure proper and detailed parts inspection, including a built-in camera to document any found anomalies.
  • Solvents for marking permanence testing, as prescribed by MIL-STD-883 (method 2015.13). This is composed of three parts mineral spirits to one part alcohol to reveal if a part has been re-marked with inferior ink.
  • Solvents to detect blacktopping, such as acetone and Dynasolve 750.
  • Double-check for any potential incorrect labelling containing misspellings or false information, like impossible date codes or incorrect manufacturer’s branding.
  • Various packaging anomalies that many counterfeit electronic components contain like the lack of desiccant dry packs or humidity indicators for moisture sensitive parts.
  • We always check for clean, consistent mould indents and other part features, as many counterfeit electronic components have inconsistencies that give you hints that they are fake.
  • Inspection of the leads to see if they have been mounted to a board previously, bent, corroded or exhibit oxidation.

Advanced Detection Methods

After all of the parts we handle pass through our essential anti-counterfeiting tools, we conduct advanced methods for complete client peace of mind. We utilise X-ray inspection for consistency, decapsulation to verify the die, and XRF (X-ray Fluorescence) to verify the correct metal content of the leads.

The best advanced detection method we have for counterfeit electronic components is proactively addressing the issue with our team. That is why all of our experts at AERI complete comprehensive training programs. We ensure they are well acquainted with our strict quality control systems and receive lots of experience through on the job training from our subject matter experts.

In addition, we are happy to share our knowledge and resources within the industry to help everyone, including our competitors, identify and avoid counterfeit electronic components. This consistent investment in cutting-edge detection equipment and techniques is how we maintain the integrity of all the aerospace semiconductors shipped to our valued clients.

Final Thoughts

The constant battle against counterfeit electronic components requires an equal, if not greater, level of vigilance. As a leading provider of semiconductors and other electronics within the aerospace industry, we at AERI do everything possible to maintain the premium-quality parts you rely on.

Call us today to learn more about our quality controls, or place an order for your upcoming project. We look forward to being your reliable partner for premium electronic components.

aeri logo.png


AERI is a prominent global distributor specialising in hard-to-find and obsolete electronic components. With a staunch commitment to combating counterfeit parts, AERI upholds the highest standards of quality and integrity, ensuring reliability for the aerospace, military, and commercial sectors through innovative detection methods and stringent quality control practices.