Shining a Light

With all the talk about counterfeits — most of which takes the manner of the over-the-backyard-fence gossip — I was glad to see this announcement today.

A company that makes bearings announced the confiscation of over 30 tons of counterfeits at a non-authorized dealer in northeast Czech Republic. (The raid also uncovered faked products from other bearing manufacturers.)

It’s not so much that the rats were caught. It’s that SKF, the bearing maker, went public with the news.

Typically, companies prefer to keep such news hush-hush, probably so as not to unnerve potential customers. Shining the light is better, however. It makes clear the scope of the problem, the steps being taken to counter it, and most important, it reminds customers to buy only from authorized sources.

There aren’t a whole lot of measures we can take to protect ourselves from counterfeits. But the measures we can take are highly effective — provided we follow them, and all the time.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow