Dangers of Counterfeit Electrical Products

Counterfeit electrical products present potentially harmful health, safety and financial implications

11/08/2013


In order to focus on and combat the issue of counterfeiting, we must first understand its dangers and implications.

 

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) estimates that the counterfeiting of well-known brands costs industries $600 billion each year worldwide, and may result in as many as 750,000 lost jobs every year in the United States.

 

If the economic consequences of counterfeiting don’t alarm you, the health and safety risks of counterfeit electrical products should.

 

Counterfeit electrical products pose a safety threat to work environments across numerous occupations, as well as anyone that lives or works where these products are installed. These unsafe lookalikes can result in malfunctions that cause serious injuries including electrical shock, electrocution and even death. Counterfeit electrical products are also capable of significant property damage.


Counterfeit electrical products often lack independent testing and may not even meet minimal performance specifications. Many counterfeit products use inferior materials, without regard for any labeled ratings, certification, or customer safety. Instead, counterfeit product manufacturers rely on deception, the Internet, and prices below market level to find their way into our homes, businesses, commercial and industrial facilities.

 

The video shows a counterfeit circuit breaker that was confiscated and later tested. Circuit breakers are designed to provide circuit protection for power distribution systems, and to safeguard people and equipment. A breaker failure means the loss of production, possible equipment damage necessitating costly system analysis and replacement, and the increased risk of worker injury at the time of failure or during maintenance. Luckily, this breaker, and the hundreds like it, never made it into the supply chain thanks to anti-counterfeiting efforts.

 

If such an incident were to happen, there are real image and financial implications for all parties involved in the design, procurement, and installation of electrical equipment.

 

Stopping the sale of counterfeit products is everyone’s responsibility. This includes manufacturers, distributors, governments, and customers alike. 

 

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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