Homepage - RF Cafe
Webmaster: Kirt Blattenberger | KB3UON | Sitemap | ©1996-2014     Visit RF Cafe on
      Menu below is just a small sample of what is here!          Visit RF Cafe on Facebook Visit RF Cafe on Twitter Visit RF Cafe on LinkedIn
Custom Search
More than 10,000 searchable pages indexed.
•−•  ••−•    −•−•  •−  ••−•  •
RF Cafe Morse Code >Hear It<

Gray Markets
Kirt's Cogitations™ #172

These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.

Please click here to return to the Table of Contents.

   Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
                                        reflection; meditation; contemplation.
   Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.


< Previous                      Next >


Gray Markets

Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. A wave of "gray market" components has saturated the supply chain that is causing both OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and CMs (contract manufacturers) to work overtime trying to separate the wheat from the chafe. Gray market parts are manufactured by shops that specialize in counterfeit products that are often times nearly indistinguishable from the genuine parts.

Sometimes the counterfeits work well, but often premature failure is experienced, and the unsuspecting OEMs and CMs are left having to honor warranties that were based on MTBF calculations and empirical lifetime testing performed using genuine components. In many instances, a failed component is returned to the manufacturer that supposedly provided the part, only to discover that it is a knock-off of something they make. The intended supplier loses money because some counterfeiter has part of his market share and the OEM loses money by having to service fake parts and suffer the bad public relations that results.

Ample reports come out of trade shows in China where salesmen (and saleswomen) brazenly canvass the floor with a basket of goods and a handful of fake labels offering to sell as many of the counterfeit parts as the prospective buyer needs - branded with the genuine company's logo. A couple years ago, an epidemic of gray market power supply capacitors caused massive damage; fires started in chassis, flying parts injured the unsuspecting users, electrolyte oozed out  of cans onto PCBs, and generally wreaked havoc. A lot of inventory was scrapped. Every few weeks we hear another report of counterfeit  cellphone batteries are still catching on fire. Vendors like Nokia have gone to placing holographic labels on their batteries to mark them as authentic.

A number of websites have popped up to track the gray market parts (1, 2, 3), but it is a monumental task. Although they admit that it is only an educated guess, the World Customs Organization estimates that counterfeiting accounts for 5% to 7% of global merchandise trade, equivalent to lost sales of as much as $512 billion in 2004. Seizures of the bogus parts by U.S. customs agents jumped by 46% in 2004. To put it in perspective, the total gray market for all goods, not just electronics, is believed to be larger than the total narcotics trade.
A Disruptive Web Presence

Custom Search
Over 10,000 pages indexed! (none duped or pirated)

Read About RF Cafe
Webmaster: Kirt Blattenberger
    KB3UON

RF Cafe Software

RF Cascade Workbook
RF Cascade Workbook is a very extensive system cascaded component Excel workbook that includes the standard Gain, NF, IP2, IP3, Psat calculations, input & output VSWR, noise BW, min/max tolerance, DC power cauculations, graphing of all RF parameters, and has a graphical block diagram tool. An extensive User's Guide is also included. - Only $35.
RF system analysis including
frequency conversion & filters

RF & EE Symbols Word
RF Stencils for Visio

Product & Service Directory
Personally Selected Manufacturers
RF Cafe T-Shirts & Mugs

RF Cafe Software

Calculator Workbook
RF Workbench
Smith Chart™ for Visio
Smith Chart™ for Excel
Your RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster
Click here to read about RF CafeKirt Blattenberger... single-handedly redefining what an
                                 engineering website should be.

View the YouTube RF Cafe Intro Video Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

5CCG (5th MOB): My USAF radar shop

Airplanes and Rockets: My personal hobby website

Equine Kingdom: My daughter Sally's horse riding website