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72 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2021 tion oen found in the obsolete markets. Mil- itary and aerospace companies are big targets because they constantly consume components that are no longer made due to their need to maintain platforms that must operate for 20 years or more. Suddenly, a pandemic hits the world, mil- lions of people are working from home and mil- lions of kids are going to school on Zoom. e spike in the need to work and study remotely created a spike in the demand for electronic devices, thus creating a spike in the demand for components. e peak in the demand for components is not immediately matched by a spike in supply. Why not? ere are several dif- ferent reasons. One, it's very expensive to ramp up the capac- ity in the electronic component supply chain. Semiconductor foundries are in the billions of dollars and take years to plan. And even if capi- tal is available to make this supply investment, it is also unknown how long the demand peak will last. What if your brand-new plant is ready when the demand drops, and your multibil- lion-dollar investment is now collecting dust? In other words, the return-on-investment time profile is uncertain. e large companies that make semiconductors don't like that. e supply-demand mismatch creates the supply chain gap we see in the plot above (Figure 2). is vacuum builds an incredible opportunity for the counterfeiting criminal enterprise. ey see it as an amazing oppor- tunity to partially fill this supply chain gap with fake components as desperate custom- ers scour the market for parts. e despera- tion grows as companies see losses in the mil- lions and billions because their manufacturing lines are halted, and as a result they are (some- times) willing to look for these components in less reputable suppliers. at's how billions of counterfeit electronic components infiltrate the supply chain, causing unknown damages to the products they are assembled in and the companies that sell them. Unfortunately, it is hard to quantify these damages, as they are oen masked as product defects that are seldom investigated as caused by a counterfeit component. e lack of trans- parency in how companies deal with counter- feits is a major impediment to our understand- ing of how grave this problem really is. Aer all, I don't recall a single manufacturer happy to share how oen they encounter counter- feit components. is information is usually shared under the veil of NDAs. us, I invite Figure 2: This graphic details how supply chain disruptions create the counterfeit shockwave.

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