MLCC COUNTERFEITING ON THE RISE

The world around us is increasingly electrified and microelectronics are everywhere. Whether smartphones, displays, or cars: multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) are used in almost all types of electronic circuits. At the same time, the number of MLCCs per unit has grown by up to 40%. This has led to an unprecedented increase in demand, which has pushed manufacturers‘ production capacity to their limits since the middle of 2017. According to industry experts, the tense market situation will continue until at least 2020.

 

Given the current delivery times of up to one year or even longer, many MLCC users have been forced to buy products on the open market. Of course, this opens the door to clones and counterfeit contaminating the supply chain. White Horse has developed a comprehensive test procedure for you that verifies the authenticity of the components accurately, reliably and at high throughput speeds so that you can confidently counter the uncertainty when purchasing MLCCs.

We have seen a dramatic rise in MLCC counterfeiting since 2016.

In 2017 and YTD 2018, roughly 25% of received lots have been found to be substandard or counterfeit.

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AN MLCC IS ONLY AS GOOD AS ITS MATERIALS AND PROCESS CONTROLS

Simply put, MLCCs are layered electrodes with ceramic dielectric material in between. Their electrical properties are determined by the compounds used for the dielectric and the electrodes as well as by the number of electrodes and the distance between the electrodes.

 

The challenge in identifying MLCCs is that counterfeits and substandard devices cannot be detected using conventional testing methods. Neither an external visual inspection (EVI) nor electrical testing of capacitance and voltage alone provide a reliable indication of whether the product is cloned or original. Even standard protocols for component testing such as X-ray or decapsulation cannot be used for passive discrete components such as MLCCs.

 

In order to meet the unique identity requirements for MLCCs, the engineers of White Horse Laboratories have conducted extensive studies with verified original products and their clones, analyzed the data and paid particular attention to the manufacturing signatures of the MLCC manufacturers. This way, White Horse Laboratories has been able to develop a comprehensive test procedure that not only measures the performance of the capacitor to its specifications, but also the way it has been produced and whether it matches the signature for its designated manufacturer. The test procedure goes far beyond EVI and basic capacitance testing and evaluates the entire MLCC fingerprint.

A UNIQUE TESTING PACKAGE:
FAST, RELIABLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE RESULTS

 

The external visual inspection (EVI) of our test profile focuses on the packaging labels and reels as well as the color and dimensions of the components. The parametric measurement targets capacitance (C), Q or dissipation factor (DF), insulation resistance (IR), dielectric strength, or equivalent series resistance (ESR) according to manufacturer specifications. Not only do we check whether the measurements are within the tolerance limits, we also consider the distance between the dimensions themselves. We check at ambient temperatures as well as at defined min/max operating temperatures. After the cross section, the materials and layering of the electrodes and terminals are examined.

OUR MLCC TESTING SERVICE AT A GLANCE*

Method Sample Notes
Documentation & packaging All
Parametric testing at ambient conditions 122pcs Tested at 25C before and after overvoltage testing
Parametric testing at temp range conditions 13pcs Tested at manufacturer-defined min/max operating conditions
Insulation Resistance (IR) and Dielectric Strength test 5pcs Tested at manufacturer-defined min/max operating conditions
Cross section 2pcs High magnification microscopy
Composite materials analysis 2pcs Concentration of elements present in target area

YOUR COST OF ASSURANCE

Only USD 725

with a delivery time of 3-4 days

OUR MLCC TESTING SERVICE AT A GLANCE*

Method Sample Notes
Documentation & packaging All
Parametric testing at ambient conditions 122pcs Tested at 25C before and after overvoltage testing
Parametric testing at temp range conditions 13pcs Tested at manufacturer-defined min/max operating conditions
Insulation Resistance (IR) and Dielectric Strength test 5pcs Tested at manufacturer-defined min/max operating conditions
Cross section 2pcs High magnification microscopy
Composite materials analysis 2pcs

YOUR COST OF ASSURANCE

Only USD 725

with a delivery time of 3-4 days

* White Horse Laboratories uses Keysight (Agilent) test equipment to ensure accurate test results. Our test equipment has undergone thorough GR&R (Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility) studies that confirm the accuracy of our test results as repeatable and reliable.
Three Keysight test systems and two ThermalStream temperature forcing systems applied over two layers keep cycle times manageable.

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THE QUALITY CONTROL COMPANY

White Horse Laboratories focuses on continually raising the bar of customer expectations by not only providing testing and quality control services, but in educating the industry on standards, processes, terminology, risks, and requirements.

Nearly every culture through history has had a white horse figure within their mythology and traditional beliefs. The white horse has consistently been a mythical figure for safety and purity, carrying people from someplace bad or dangerous towards the heavens, or at least safe havens. It is from this symbolism that we derived the name “White Horse” for our company.

From our foundation in 2004, White Horse Laboratories has evolved beyond only electronic components and now provides quality assurance solutions for complete electronic assemblies and other manufactured products to address the ongoing global proliferation of recalls and returns that continue to disrupt the industry.

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GET IN TOUCH WITH US

We combine multiple test methods into a time-saving and cost-effective solution to verify your electronic components.
We can help you. Contact us now.

Our Customer Service Office:

+86 (755) 8374-1887

 

24 Hour Email Service

solutions (at) whitehorselabs.com