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How to avoid financial and legal disaster by correctly sourcing your components Risky Business: Counterfeit RECOM converters cause trouble

From copy to counterfeit to trouble

Quantified risk

When these copycat components are installed in series, then the entire series of high-quality machines are affected and the manufacturer is liable for risks, which were not on the map beforehand. As long as logo and type designation differ, the customer knows that he can’t expect the same quality as the original.

Disaster in the field

When counterfeit components are offered with the original brand name and type designation, not only the original manufacturer is cheated, but also the mostly unsuspecting customer, as these components do not comply to the strict specifications and certifications as the originals.

The following consequences are likely:

  • Machine downtimes - are caused by malfunctioning components, resulting in exponentially more cost than the money saved on cheap counterfeit converters
  • Reliability and legal issues - can be the aftermath when machines break due to malfunctioning components
  • Endangering people - electrical or mechanical failure can cause injuries to the people around
  • Long lasting damage on image and reputation.

Authorized distributors

It is highly recommended that you purchase RECOM products from any of our global distributors.

Select your country on this page to see which distributors sell original RECOM products.

List of authorized distributors

For any other distributor, we do not guarantee that the products sold are original For any other distributor, we do not guarantee that the products sold are original RECOM products.

If you doubt the authenticity of your purchased products, you can contact us and we will help to identify them: counterfeit(at)recom-power(dot)com 

Case Study

The following is a real world example of when a counterfeit RECOM product was used within an application. 

A renowned and reputable German mechanical engineering company had developed a machine that required a controller board. During development of the controller boards, various high-quality DC/DC converters with 24VDC inputs and 3.3V outputs were tested and a RECOM DC/DC module was decided upon. The machine was manufactured, sold and quickly enjoyed phenomenal success. However, due to the increase in demand, the company found they were needing more RECOM DC/DC converters than were available through a trusted RECOM distributor. 

In their search for alternate suppliers, they came across a company in Asia for the exact RECOM component they were needing. This Asian company had plenty of it stock and it was priced even lower than their normal distributor charged. What luck! The German company ordered 500 converters. 

As these converters were installed and several machines were put into operation, first complaints came in. On several occasions, service technicians had to exchange controller boards that apparently had quit service. A short time later it became clear: the cause of the error was almost always one of the converters on the board, which led to the failure of the complete control unit. In addition to immense costs for support and service in the USA, China and Europe and consumer reclamation claims for loss of production, the brand-new product had suffered from painful image damage.

We also had our reputation on the line. The question was, if suddenly a converter, which has been running smoothly for years, in spite of regular checks, caused a production error? Even before the first defective converter came back, we started HALT tests in our own environmental laboratory in Gmunden on specimens of the current production, without showing any deviations. When the broken parts from the customer arrived, the surprise was immense. Although they had a RECOM logo and the type designation was correct - they looked a little different. The logo was vertically stretched and printed - not lasered as the original. A bold fake!

The photo shows the RECOM REC5-243.3SRW in the original on the left, the counterfeit on the right. While the outside differences between the RECOM product and the counterfeit were a bit more subtle, the inside of the component was a completely different story. A review in the Environmental Laboratory showed that despite the corresponding signet, the counterfeit had no chance to obtain UL approval or to comply with RoHS regulations.

Internal examination exposes significant quality differences. On the left the well isolated E-core of the RECOM converter, on the right the fake with inadequate isolation of the primary and secondary windings.

The insulation was so poorly designed that it was not even close to the required value. Thus, a component of only a few euros ultimately led to the failure of expensive machines and service costs in a significant five-digit range - not including the loss in reputation as a reliable and quality manufacturer for the German company.

The photo shows the RECOM REC5-243.3SRW in the original on the left, the counterfeit on the right. While the outside differences between the RECOM product and the counterfeit were a bit more subtle, the inside of the component was a completely different story. A review in the Environmental Laboratory showed that despite the corresponding signet, the counterfeit had no chance to obtain UL approval or to comply with RoHS regulations.

Fakes vs. originals

If you doubt the authenticity of your purchased products, you can contact us and we will help to identify them:

counterfeit(at)recom-power(dot)com