Just as in any industry where high-tech components are being manufactured, counterfeit wire and cable products can be a problem. Fake knock-offs can cause physical injury or damage systems and other products. To combat this, Northwire Inc., (NWI) Osceola, Wis., is offering an anti-counterfeit technology to protect customers against the flourishing counterfeit wire industry. Their next generation of verification tools safeguards consumers against hazards that can range from injury to revenue loss. The sophisticated multi-billion dollar global “gray market” demands cooperative efforts between OEMs, distributors, resellers, consumers, watch-dog organizations and government entities.
Counterfeiting can cause physical injuries, negatively impact revenue, and damage a carefully built reputation. Protection against counterfeiting starts with education, and that is precisely the foundation of Northwire’s collaborative efforts with customers. NWI’s warnings to consumers about inherent health and safety risks associated with imitation products are paramount in their efforts. Continuing the educational theme of risk avoidance, NWI also provides tips and techniques so consumers can identify “knock offs” before purchase.
The wire company’s proactive approach employs a more aggressive strategy with a comprehensive series of anti-counterfeit offerings. “Working closely with NWI R&D, strategic supply chain partners and our product development engineers, we have designed a dynamic range of capabilities. From covert to overt, our anti-counterfeit measures suit a wide variety of applications,” states Brad Steege, Technical Sales Manager and industry veteran of 15 years. “Invisible to the human eye, our authentication technology cannot be detected by a general physical examination. Depending on the customers’ preference, this covert capability offers four distinct layers of detection to select from,” explains Steege.
Meanwhile, overt examples of authentication range from less sophisticated, like a custom legend with a product specific UL listed part registered to the OEM or customer, to more advanced authentication measures, including custom designed over-molded printed circuit boards and smart chips that validate the OEM or customer. Essentially, it is a serial number that uniquely identifies the product and traces its supply chain path to the OEM.
While NWI’s anti-counterfeit mechanisms can prove effective in the battle against the prospering piracy industry, it is vitally important to emphasize the counterfeit cables’ countless risks. Northwire warns customers about the Top 10 Hazards:
- 10 Severe environmental and property damage
- 9 Electrocution due to lack of standard safety mechanisms
- 8 Risk of electrical fires, toxic smoke, and catastrophic combustion damage
- 7 Liability, fines, and potential criminal prosecution
- 6 Shorter cable life span
- 5 Greatly reduced signal integrity
- 4 Slow network systems speed with disproportionate downtime
- 3 Poor reputation for your brand and products
- 2 Loss of revenue, company certifications or standings among competitors
- 1 Loss of life due to electrocution, fires, smoke and combustion
Stay vigilant and learn to identify counterfeit goods before you introduce them to your valuable supply chain. NWI reminds customers to always confirm the following when selecting a cable manufacturer:
- Is the manufacturer authorized to produce this type of cable?
- Have you verified all trademarks, service marks and copyrights?
- Is the price “too good to be true”?
- Can you request a Certificate of Conformance (C of C) from the OEM?
- Has the cable undergone full testing?
- Are material indicators solid?
- Can you sample before you buy?