Specifying engineers tasked to spec out electrical counterfeiting

Several strategies give specifying engineers the opportunity to contribute in the fight against electrical counterfeiting by ensuring authentic components are designated and installed.


Tom Grace. Courtesy: EatonEarlier this year, I asked readers of this blog to share their thoughts on how specifying engineers can play a role in the industry-wide collaboration needed to prevent counterfeit electrical products from making it into facilities.

ARCOM’s Michael A. Heinsdorf has weighed in on the industry-wide issue and recently published his thoughts on the specifying engineer’s role in this collaboration on ARCOM’s blog, Spec Talk. The blog post, titled “Some Suggestions for Preventing Electrical Counterfeiting,” discusses what types of specifications can be made to help thwart electrical counterfeiting.

First, let me point out that Heinsdorf reiterates that while specifying engineers are “not necessarily concerned about electrical counterfeiting, because they assume all equipment is as specified and matches what was included in their project submissions … there is always a chance that specified equipment could be counterfeit.”

From this, Heinsdorf provides six suggestions for specifying engineers on how to incorporate language into MasterSpec in an effort to prevent counterfeit electrical products from unknowingly being used in a project.

For instance, Heinsdorf points out that specifying engineers should “specify systems and assemblies from a single manufacturer” in order to avoid substitutions of “lesser quality” equipment. In addition, engineers are advised to “include provisions for inspection and replacement of any components that fail testing” as a means to eliminate potentially counterfeit products.

These strategies begin to provide specifying engineers with the opportunity to contribute in the fight against electrical counterfeiting by ensuring authentic components are designated and installed.

I encourage you to look for opportunities to include such language in future specifications and keep your eyes open for additional ways we, as professionals, can help prevent counterfeiting. Please contact me once you do at tomagrace@eaton.com. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

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.

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