Seven tips to combat counterfeit electrical equipment

Eaton expert cites dangers to employees, economy from fake products

11/26/2012


Counterfeit electrical products present serious health and safety risks to consumers and to the electrical industry. These products can overheat or cause short circuits, leading to fires, shocks or explosions that can cost people their lives and produce considerable property damage. Although counterfeit products are often less expensive than legitimate products because the manufacturers cut corners, they also present long-term economic risks related to safety and their negative impact on legitimate manufacturers.

To make end users more aware of this issue, Eaton Corporation has developed seven tips aimed at helping facility owners and contractors identify counterfeit electrical products. The tips can help customers as they take inventory of their current stock and prepare for purchasing in the New Year.

“While there are laws against counterfeiting in many countries, detection is sometimes difficult and enforcement is lax,” said Tom Grace, brand protection manager, Eaton’s Electrical Sector. “Legitimate manufacturers, distributors and customers must work together to prevent unsafe products from entering the supply chain and causing harm to people and property. By following these tips, customers can become more confident that their facility is free of counterfeit products.”

  1. Buy authentic: The best way to avoid counterfeit electrical products is to 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. This can be done while purchasing, or for products currently owned. Eaton’s new Circuit Breaker Authentication (CBA) tool is designed to allow customers to detect if Eaton molded circuit breakers (MCCBs), up to 400 amperes, 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. To learn more, or download the CBA tool, visitwww.eaton.com/counterfeit.
  3. Scrutinize labels and packaging: When purchasing an electronic product, check for certification marks from organizations 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.
  5. Pay close attention to products purchased: Quality control is often lacking in counterfeiting operations, so you may be able to spot a counterfeit simply based on its workmanship. If it is a product that is purchased habitually, compare the quality and the price of that product at a different retailer. Be cautious of products that seem flimsy or are noticeably poorly made.
  6. Make sure everything that should be there, is there: Counterfeit products often don’t include supplementary materials such as owner’s manual or product registration card. Sometimes counterfeiters do not include all the parts that should come with the product, or some parts will be from a different manufacturer.
  7. Report suspected counterfeits: If a product is suspected to be counterfeit, it is recommended to contact the brand owner. This will allow authentication of the suspect product and ensure that the potentially unsafe product is removed from the market place. Contact Eaton at unauthorizedproducts(at)eaton.com

“Stopping the sale of counterfeit products is everyone’s responsibility—manufacturers, distributors, resellers (authorized and unauthorized) and customers alike,” said Grace. “Implementing these tips into inventory and purchasing practices is a big way for customers to help keep counterfeit products out of their facilities and the demand for counterfeits down.”



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control 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.