Retronix Blog

Mar 21, 2018

Detect Counterfeit IC’s

Retronix recently presented at the 9th Anti-Counterfeit Seminar organised by the Anti-Counterfeiting Forum (..) hosted at BAE Systems. Leading up to the event we did a series of posts which showed how counterfeit components are ever so close to reaching the supply chain of High Reliability Sectors such as defence, aerospace, avionics etc. The IC suppliers, and buyers at OEM’s / CEM’s have to be vigilant to ensure such parts do not enter their builds, because if it does happen, not only is it a massively expensive project to get it out of the supply chain but also a danger to their systems and applications.

Following are just a few examples of counterfeit parts identified by a suite of in-house test services at Retronix, and therefore saving hi-rel customers taking them out of the supply chain –

Take the case of these parts :

XRay Inspection

These parts were visually identical and even after a wipe test and measurements they still looked the same, but under X-Ray – one was acceptable and one had no bond out wires or die.


Another one from our “Rogues Gallery” these were visually perfect, but checked in X-Ray while still in the tubes due to doubt over the supplier and leadtime not matching what our customer had been lead to expect. Blank devices had been mixed in with the other devices, some of these also had a different die. Images were provided to the supplier and parts were destroyed. These had been destined to be used on PCBs that were part of equipment to be used on Navy Submarines.

Navy Counterfeit ICs


This one is a SMT Micropak 6 Logic Buffer, these were free issued by a customer, there was doubt raised due to the labelling on the packaging. As a result these were X-Rayed still on the reel – this showed blank devices, different bond patterns and die along with broken bond wires. These parts had been part of a BOM for the build of emergency communications for downed RAF pilots.

Counterfeit Parts


If you have any devices you need counterfeit checks carried out on, talk to us to see what we can offer. In some cases we may find enough evidence of counterfeit after just visual inspection, in other cases this may need to go as far as decapsulation. We offer these services and all the steps in between, including extreme temperature testing to highlight parts sold as industrial that may be relabelled commercial parts.

For a full suite of our Test Services – Click Here

If you have a requirement that you would like to discuss with us, please make contact via email: or use our Website Contact Us page.

Original Article published on LinkedIn by Rob Ronan (UK Sales & Support Manager)

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