Your Questions.
Our Answers.

All important aspects of component counterfeiting, common analysis methods and the process of our service are covered in our FAQs


We inspect for originality and new condition of electrical, electronic and electromechanical components. We also offer a range of electrical tests and solderability analysis of components.

Quality assurance is often hampered by a lack of technical equipment and expertise during incoming goods inspection. In these cases, further testing in a lab is recommended.

We also come in to help when problematic components are identified in applications and need to be tested.

A counterfeit is a component manufactured or processed with the intent to deceive in order to market it as a (new) original.

  • Refurbished goods – counterfeiters solder used components from old electronics or e-waste to refurbish and rebrand them as intended components. Date codes are altered, performance parameters are tweaked (more valuable goods are simulated) or completely different, more sought-after components are created.
  • Empty components consist of only the housing and contact elements, without inner workings.
  • Clones are cheap replicas of original branded products. Their inner workings are often quite different, and their functionality is usually more limited.
  • Rejects are batches that have not been legally disposed of as intended by the manufacturer, but find their way into the marketplace “through the back door”.
  • Overproduced goods are those produced after the regular production shift. The system continues to operate (without authorization) to generate profit (bypassing the manufacturer).

There are many reasons to hire a test house. Here is a selection:

  • Procurement source
    Sometimes components come from unknown or untrustworthy sources. This poses the greatest risk of receiving counterfeit or substandard components. In these cases, our recommendation is always a professional inspection of the delivery.
  • Component failure
    When an application is experiencing problems, we identify the component that is causing the failures. We then examine the component in question, which often involves clarifying the origin of the component..
  • Component age
    Components with older date codes should be checked more frequently. The reason for this is that aging processes due to oxidation or diffusion processes can have a very detrimental effect on solderability. Important: New semiconductors also tend to oxidize if they are improperly packaged or stored.
  • Suspected cases
    Anomalies are detected during the inspection of the incoming goods or during the processing of the components. The most common include:
    - The original packaging is missing
    - The date codes on packaging and component labeling differ
    - The component housings are dirty or scratched
    - The component connections (pins, balls) are bent, dirty, discolored or oxidized

Analysis Methods

You can find an overview of applicable analyses for different component groups here. Our experts will be happy to discuss the appropriate scope of testing for your particular task.

The destructive analyses include: decapsulation, chemical-thermal surface analysis, micrograph preparation, solderability testing, and certain electrical testing. The chemical wipe and mechanical scratch tests leave traces of processing on the component surface.

We compare the test samples tested at each step of the tamper-evident test to a reference component, also known as a Golden Sample. The deviations detected often, but not always, indicate tampering.

Knowing how to interpret the results is very important. For this, appropriate expertise is essential.

Analysis Procedure

There are two options here: the customer or SafeLab.

Our customers often provide golden samples or archived data for testing. Upon request, we can check availability from official sources and procure the component. We also have access to an extensive archive database. This allows us to research the component information we need.

If neither a reference component nor archived data is available, we offer an alternative scope to test. During advanced analyses, we check suitable component specifications against the datasheet specifications to provide a clear PASS/FAIL result.

The inspection lot size is the number of components to be inspected. This lot size depends on the quantity and size of the VPEs, their condition, and the number of date codes shipped.

For visual inspection, we randomly take three samples at different points on the package. This is done up to a PU size of <1,000 pieces. This number increases linearly as the PU size increases (<2,500 seven pieces; <5,000 14 pieces, etc.). For the destructive tests, we again select a component at random.

Alternatively, the customer can select the test samples and send only those to us. However, we recommend that the entire shipment be tested in the SafeLab. This gives you a complete picture, including the documentation that goes with it.

Not necessarily. In some cases, our specialists can identify a counterfeit product already during the initial inspection stage. If the result is clear, we will stop at that point and contact you. To avoid unnecessary costs, we recommend that you refrain from further testing. Our goal is to save our customers time and money without compromising the quality of the test results.

As soon as we take the goods to be tested out of the dry pack, the life of the MSL conditional floor begins. The remaining time after testing is noted on the packaging units. Upon request, we can also perform a re-drying process to restore the components to 100% floor life.

We often find components with different date codes within a packaging unit without corresponding delivery documentation.

In order to verify the homogeneity of the shipment of goods, our recommended inspection lot size is dependent on the size of the PU. This procedure is designed to minimize the risk of missing counterfeits.

No. We use our special Rework Station to properly reseal blister tapes. As a result, the roll looks flawless. This allows for perfect processing in the pick-and-place machine.

Analysis Report

We provide clarity in terms of results and structure. You will also receive a component usability recommendation.

A green PASS or red FAIL directly on the cover clearly indicates whether your component has passed the tests.

Our report presents the test results and the corresponding photo documentation by listing the findings "from general to specific". Readers can choose to delve deeper or to focus on a specific topic as they wish. In addition to the clear results, we make recommendations such as solder analysis or re-drying the components before installation. Where necessary, we advise against using the product.

Analysis reports in English are also available upon request.

Testing costs are calculated from the scope of appropriate analytical methods and lot size. We determine this by taking into account the component specification, the scope of supply, the availability of a reference component, and any customer requirements. As these factors vary from case to case, we calculate the cost of testing on a case-by-case basis.

Our analysis specialists will be happy to consult with you and coordinate the necessary testing procedures. In this way, you can avoid unnecessary costs and order only the services you need.

Our extensive technical facilities typically enable test turnaround times of seven to ten business days. Do you need shorter turnaround times? No problem. With our express service, you'll receive the results within three business days.