Maintenance Technology April 2015 - (Page 35)

INDUSTRY ANSWERS COUNTERFEIT EQUIPMENT AND COMPONENTS continue to flood into the North American supply chain. From an industrial perspective, the problems this situation poses for plants and facilities, as well as for the end-users of products manufactured in those operations, can be catastrophic. Using counterfeit electrical products can result in a higher risk for failure or malfunction. Such failures may result in electrical shock, overheating or short circuits, leading to equipment failure, fires or explosions that can cost workers their lives and cause considerable property damage. Unfortunately, the dangers that these unsafe products present are an issue for personnel across all industry sectors. Preventing harm to people and property from counterfeits continues to call for strong, multi-pronged efforts. We all have roles to play. For an update on this critical issue and tips on how maintenance and reliability professionals can address it, Maintenance Technology's Managing Editor Jane Alexander sat down with Tom Grace of Eaton. Q&A MT: What is the state of counterfeiting today? TG: The counterfeiting of well-known brands and products is a growing, worldwide issue, estimated at up to 7% of world trade, or nearly $1.77 trillion in 2015. This includes consumer safety and electrical products that can have threatening implications for workers and facilities. In 2013, more than $1.7 billion worth of counterfeit consumer safety and critical technology products were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov). Over the last five years, counterfeit seizures have seen nearly 50% annual growth. Furthermore, the International-AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (iacc.org) estimates that the counterfeiting of distinguished brands costs U.S. industries $250 billion annually and may result in as many as 750,000 lost jobs every year. MT: What types of dangers do counterfeit electrical products present? TG: Aside from the significant and ever-increasing economic consequences, counterfeiting can compromise a brand's reputation and system reliability, as well as have a negative impact on public safety. By definition, a counterfeit is a product, product package or service that uses, without authorization, the trademark, service mark or copyright of another, with the intent to deceive prospective customers into believing that the product or service is genuine. This makes detecting the difference between a counterfeit and authentic product very difficult. Counterfeit electrical products, many of which are intended to serve as protective devices, are unsafe lookalikes. Such counterfeits, including circuit breakers, ground-fault and arc-fault interrupters and surge protectors, are often duplicated without regard for electrical safety or minimal performance specifications. Counterfeit electrical products also present serious legal and perception implications that can create problems for individuals involved in the procuring, design and installation of the electrical product and its environment. In the event that a counterfeit electrical product causes harm to an individual or property, investigation and litigation can take much longer to complete than the 24-hour news cycle allows, potentially damaging brand reputation and the bottom lines of companies associated with the product. MT: What is being done to combat the problem? TG: Many companies are leading efforts to protect public safety by collaborating with industry partners to prevent these dangerous counterfeits from causing harm to people and property. Some Counterfeit equipment and components can pose deadly consequences for industrial plants and facilities, as well as for the end-users of products they manufacture. APRIL 2015 MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM | 35 http://www.cbp.gov http://www.iacc.org http://www.MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM

Maintenance Technology April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology April 2015

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