July 2013


Life and property on the line

IECQ CAP battles counterfeit components

Aliyah Esmail

Counterfeiting has proven to be a viable and lucrative industry in many areas of the world, specifically the counterfeiting of microcircuits used in electronic devices. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, has launched a programme designed to address the international counterfeit crisis faced by the aerospace, defense and high performance (ADHP) sectors.

Counterfeit components harm everyone

Counterfeit components often originate from material meant to be recycled from e-waste programmes. The fraudulent components are often recycled with cheap materials, improper assembly, substitute dye and then exposed to harsh environments that significantly reduce the life and reliability of such components.


Recently, there have been increases in counterfeit electronic parts entering the supply chain, posing significant performance, reliability, and safety risks worldwide. The IECQ CAP (Counterfeit Avoidance Programme) encompasses management processes associated with avoidance and mitigation for dealing with counterfeit or fraudulent electronic components. The scheme was designed for and by manufacturers and distributors and the brochure, Flying away from counterfeit parts, has more information on IECQ CAP.

First company to receive IECQ CAP certification

Secure Components is an independent distributor specializing in sourcing no longer manufactured and hard to find components for the aerospace and defense industries. It is the first company to achieve Certification under IECQ CAP.


“The dramatic rise in counterfeit material, combined with an economy built on global trade over the past five to 10 years has led some of the world’s largest companies to seek an industry based solution to this growing epidemic of counterfeit components. Before IECQ CAP, industry had no reliable programme at an international level to ensure a company’s compliance to an effective counterfeit avoidance plan. A broker or distributor could claim compliance to systems without third party oversight or international recognition,” explained CEO of Secure Components Todd Kramer.

IECQ CAP Certificate of Conformity explained

The IECQ CAP Certificate of Conformity provides confidence internationally that manufacturers or distributors have the processes in place to manage counterfeit avoidance in the selection and use of components.


With IECQ CAP, manufacturers and distributors will be able to promote their products and services with more confidence as the Certification will be internationally recognized; obtain independent monitoring and verification of their components and systems, including their auditing system; benefit from advanced detection of potential technical problems in the supply chain; eliminate duplicate testing; and achieve easier acceptance by regulators and others in the supply chain in many countries.

What the future holds

In the future it is expected that other industries will make use of this International Scheme. Other industries may include telecommunications, biomedical and automotive.


“Counterfeiting is something that affects all industries across the board,” said Kramer. “Everyone is suffering from intellectual property being stolen and safety being compromised. Embracing this change will not only help business but more importantly this will increase the safety of the men and woman using the equipment.”

About IECQ

IECQ (IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components) is a worldwide approval and certification system that covers the supply, assembly, associated materials and processes of a large variety of electronic components that are used in millions of devices and systems. The IECQ Certification System provides manufacturers with independent verification that IEC International Standards and other specifications were met by suppliers who hold an IECQ certification. The avionics and increasingly other industries depend on the IECQ Electronic Component Management Plan to assess suppliers and safely manage their components’ supply chain also to avoid counterfeit merchandise. IECQ also allows manufacturers to more easily comply with increasingly strict hazardous substances regulations. IECQ operates five certification schemes: HSPM (Hazardous Substances Process Management), ECMP (Electronic Component Management Plan), AP (Approved Process), AC (Approved Component) and ITL (Independent Testing Laboratory).


  • IECQ CAP can help ADHP sectors avoid counterfeit components
  • Harris Falcon III RF-7800H HF tactical radio (Photo: Harris Corp.)
  • Numerous militaries have admitted that thousands of fake components have infiltrated their supply chain


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