Soapbox: Fight against counterfeit electrical products

The counterfeiting of electrical products, which have the potential to affect our health and safety, should be of concern to everyone. Do you know the 6 tips to avoid counterfeit electrical products?

08/17/2010


The counterfeiting of well-known brands and products has been a growing problem
worldwide for more than a decade and has increased by 10,000% over the
past 20 years. A counterfeit product is one that uses, without authorization, the trademark, service mark or copyright of another product, with intent to deceive prospective customers into believing that the product is genuine.

Worldwide, counterfeiting is estimated to be 5% to 7% of world trade, or about $600 billion each year. In the U.S., that figure is $200 billion to $250 billion. Revenue “stolen” from legitimate companies via counterfeiting cuts 750,000 U.S. jobs a year, says the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (www.iacc.org).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

40 Under 40 – Control Engineering: Know someone working in automation under age 40 in need of some recognition? See the 40 Under 40 awards.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Consumers have been desensitized to counterfeiting by bargain-priced knock-off luxury goods, bootleg movies, and music trading. Counterfeit products that can affect our health and safety, such as electrical products, should be of additional concern.

Counterfeit electrical products are being found in all areas of the world. Laws exist in many countries, but difficulty of detection and the lack of enforcement are contributing factors to the proliferation of counterfeits. In 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that electrical products represented 13% of all counterfeit products seized — the second-highest total of any category. In 2008, CBP reported that it seized $286 million worth of counterfeit electrical products, a 43% increase over 2007 levels.

More than 80% of these substandard, unsafe products originate in China and have started finding their way to the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Such products also continue to have a strong presence in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Free trade zones, and the movement of counterfeit products across borders, disguise true origins of many products.

Telltale signs of imitation electrical products include: missing or poor-quality labels; out-of-date product codes; packaging and stickers that legitimate manufacturers don’t use; and absence of, or imitation, third-party testing certification labels from organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or other bodies that certify the quality and performance of electrical products. Counterfeit electrical products are dangerous because they can overheat or cause short circuits, leading to fires, shocks or explosions that can cost people their lives and produce considerable property damage. Fraudulent products include control relays for industrial equipment, circuit breakers, receptacles, ground fault circuit interrupters, power strips, surge suppressors, and power cords.

These tips help to avoid counterfeit products:

  • Always purchase from the manufacturer’s authorized distributors or resellers;
  • Ensure that there is a traceability of purchases to the original manufacturer;
  • Scrutinize labels and packaging for quality;
  • Ensure all markings of the genuine product are intact including certifications;
  • Avoid products that lack any identifying branding label, evidence of tampering, or “bargains” that seem too good to be true; and\
  • Contact the manufacturer if you suspect a counterfeit. (You can contact Eaton via e-mail at unauthorizedproducts@eaton.com.)

It is also important to be involved with industry organizations combating counterfeiting, such as National Electrical Manufacturers Association; National Association of Electrical Distributors; International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition; Underwriters Laboratories; Canadian Standards Association; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy; and British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers’ Association. We must continue to work together on a global level to prevent unsafe counterfeit products from causing harm to people and property. The attention we devote to slowing proliferation of counterfeit products can help to ensure maximum electrical safety levels for ourselves and for future generations.

More information: Rich Holder, president of Eaton’s Electrical Components Organization, moderated a discussion on the dangers of counterfeit electrical
products at the Electric West 2010 conference in Las Vegas in March 2009. A
recording of the discussion is available at www.eaton.com/EatonCom/Markets/Electrical/ServicesSupport/Counterfeiting/index.htm

Tom Grace is manager of Anti-Counterfeiting Initiatives at Eaton Corp., a global maker of power distribution, power quality, control and industrial automation products and services. www.eaton.com



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me