World Electronics Forum

Discovering new facets of IEC work

By Gabriela Ehrlich

During CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which takes place every year in January in Las Vegas, the WEF (World Electronics Forum) holds its bi-annual meeting, bringing together CEOs, Presidents and high level decision makers of industry and electronics manufacturer associations. As an official observer, the IEC participates in both the bi-annual and the annual event, which this year will take place in Lagos, Nigeria during the Digital Africa summit. Participation in the Forum offers an excellent opportunity to network with leaders of the high-tech industry, learn about new developments in this industry, and to share IEC work in International Standardization and Conformity Assessment.

This year’s bi-annual WEF meeting in Las Vegas brought together representatives from 15 countries. The IEC presented its efforts to combat counterfeit electronics. This is a major issue for the electronics industry and delegates of WEF were surprised to discover that the IEC offers real-life industry solutions in this area through IECQ and IECEE.

WEF Logo-landscape
The World Electronics Forum held its bi-annual meeting during CES in January of this year

Counterfeit components affect the whole supply chain

Counterfeit goods are an increasing problem everywhere. It’s not just high value parts that are being counterfeited; piracy in components is increasing exponentially. This has become a significant problem that affects the whole electronics supply chain, down to the end product.

Increased liability and cost

Counterfeit electrical and electronic products and components can be dangerous because they often use cheap raw material. They are often also poorly assembled, and generally are not tested or certified.

Electronic components from discarded electrical devices (e-waste) are equally dangerous because they generally don’t retain their original specifications and are presented to the market as a new product.

The use of such recycled or pirated electronic components can result in the deterioration of whole products and systems.

More than a nuisance

While counterfeit electrical and electronic products can be a nuisance when they result in the destruction of a household appliance or a home entertainment system, they can be a significant safety hazard, causing injuries and death in addition to substantial losses in property. They can have catastrophic consequences in aerospace where loss of performance or reliability is then generally fatal.

The aerospace industry is closely working with the IEC to fight the piracy of electronic components.

An important tool

WEF members were interested to learn that third-party certification can be an important deterrent against counterfeit electronics. It provides independent verification of a product or component and helps reduce liability in case of incidents. While some of the people in the room knew about IECQ, they were generally not aware of the IECQ Counterfeit Avoidance Programme for electronic components and assemblies. They learned with interest that IECQ provides immediate online verification that helps spot fake merchandise. Additionally the programme includes certification for component suppliers as well as supply chain management and control mechanisms that support the quality assurance of electronic components.

The IEC presentation gave WEF members a new insight into IEC work beyond standardization.

WEF Logo-landscape The World Electronics Forum held its bi-annual meeting during CES in January of this year
MAG003-landscape The IECQ Counterfeit Avoidance Programme leads the way in avoiding counterfeit and recycled electronic components
approved IECEE and IECQ offer real-life industry solutions by providing approvement and certification amongst other services