Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shop online for counterfeit parts

Posted by John McHale

I had a nice lunch last week in Tempe, Ariz., with R. Dale Lillard, Lee Mathieson, and John Redding of Lansdale Semiconductor where we discussed the troubling issue of counterfeit parts finding their way into critical military systems.

Lillard, president of Lansdale, said the problem is that the counterfeits are so easily available and cheap. He says these parts will most likely fail and could end up costing lives.

He gave me an example of a component Lansdale produces called the MC3356. "We are the only true manufacturer, having purchased the tooling from Motorola," Lillard says.

He said that if you do a Google search on the part "any potential customers would find five pages of other suppliers selling who knows what on Google before we show up." Lansdale does have a paid "advertisement on all our parts in hopes they find us. Google doesn't seem to care."

Lillard said without the paid advertisement -- which appears on the right of the first search page -- his website would not come up till after five or seven pages.

When I did the search it took me 10 pages to find a Lansdale link - Lillard wasn't kidding. Some of the sites that came up were the China IC Mart and IC-Town. The China IC Mart was on the first page of the search

Mathieson, operations manager at Lansdale, says the scary thing says is that these parts may work at first and seem just fine but they are not fully qualified and tested and when it comes down to it not the real MC3356, just a counterfeit.

Buy at your own risk.

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