Know what you can do about counterfeit electrical products

Four tips to help identify and avoid counterfeit electrical products.

12/30/2013


Eaton’s Circuit Breaker Authentication (CBA) tool can be used by customers to determine if the company’s molded case circuit breakers (MCCBS) are genuine or counterfeit. Courtesy: EatonIf you’ve been following this blog for a few weeks, you are now becoming familiar with the potential safety, economic, and brand reputation consequences of counterfeit electrical products. It is my hope that you are even inspired to join in the fight against these products through your role in the electrical industry. 

 

As the designers of electrical work environments, consulting and specifying engineers can consider specifying that only authentic electrical equipment from authorized resellers be used in the final build. This will not only provide the contractors of the project with the assurance of genuine goods, but also the customer. 

 

Working with electrical contractors that are also aware of these dangers, and how to avoid and identify counterfeit electrical projects, can also build on this assurance. The following are the top four tips for avoiding and identifying counterfeit electrical products of which contractors should be aware. 

 

1. Buy authentic: The best way to avoid counterfeit electrical products is to specify and purchase products from the manufacture’s authorized distributors or resellers. There is a higher risk of counterfeits if one cannot trace the path of commerce to the original manufacturer. 

 

2. Verify authentication: When possible, use tools provided by the original manufacturer or certification organizations to verify electrical products are authentic. For example, Eaton’s Circuit Breaker Authentication (CBA) tool is designed to allow customers to detect if Eaton molded circuit breakers (MCCBs), up to 400 amp, are counterfeit. By entering the bar code, part number and date code found on the circuit breaker, the CBA tool is intended to immediately verify authentication.

 

3. Scrutinize labels and packaging: Check for certification marks from organizations like UL that certify the quality and performance of electrical products. Avoid products that lack any identifying branding label or affiliation. Be leery of additional markings or labeling not applied by the original manufactures with missing or poor-quality labels, out-of-date product codes, and non-genuine packaging. As counterfeiters become more sophisticated, counterfeit products become even more difficult to detect this way, creating an increasing need for additional scrutiny.

 

4. Avoid “bargains”: When shopping for electrical products, avoid “bargains” that seem too good to be true. Compare the price of that product to a similar product at a different retailer. If it seems too good to be true, the odds are it is.

 

If anyone suspects that a product is counterfeit, they should ask the brand owner for validation of the suspect product. If there is a discrepancy, this will help ensure that the potentially unsafe product is removed from the marketplace.

 

With a new year around the corner, now is a great time to reflect on opportunities you may have to help in the fight against counterfeit electrical products. Please share the opportunities that you identify in the comment section below. 

 

Have a very happy and safe holiday season!


As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness, training, and prevention. This involves building awareness of the risks that counterfeit electrical products present to personal safety and the economy with end customers, contractors, inspectors, and electrical resellers.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.