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leery of additional markings or labeling not applied by the original manufactures with missing or poor-quality labels, out-of-date product codes, and non-genuine packaging.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 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.