Fake Electrical Products Report

by Editor on July 30, 2012

Counterfeit products are now a worldwide problem. Here’s a report and a video about how about fake and counterfeit products can affect electrical safety. There’s also a link to a website devoted to electrical counterfeit awareness.

Counterfeit Items Commonplace Throughout the World

When counterfeit DVD movies result in distorted screen displays, viewers get angry, grumble about wasting their money and then trash the DVD. When computer software proves not to have an authentic serial number, users may lose several hundred pounds in costs. But when dangerous counterfeit critical electrical protection devices go bad:

  • Homes can go up in smoke
  • Businesses can shut down for weeks
  • Individuals sometimes die.

Electricity is nothing to play with. Whether dealing in South Africa, the U.S. or the United Kingdom, don’t play with the safety of your customers. Non-compliant MCBs, ELPUs and RCDs can produce disastrous results. To avoid this fate, purchase supplies from reputable dealers who check their products and know where they come from.

This 8-minute DVD feature contains footage of some examples of dangerous fake and counterfeit electrical products. It outlines specific recommendations for manufacturers, distributors, government officials and consumers.

South Africa Replica MCB and ELPU Threat Continues

Dangerous Counterfeit Electrical Protection Devices in South Africa Homes and Businesses

Counterfeit Electrical Components – Another Example of Replica Products Invading Every Sector of Business, Industry and Homes

From clothing to the movie industry, from computer chips to websites, the counterfeit market thrives within an economy drenched from endless financial woes. No one is surprised by the surge in fake “critical” electrical devices that has recently surfaced in South Africa. In fact, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) provides a variety of no-cost resources to help raise community awareness of the electrical dangers currently present in the home and the workplace.

The problem in South Africa was first noticed over a year ago, but the wheels of corrective action often turn rather slowly. When the counterfeit MCBs and ELPUs began to show up for warranty repair/replacement services at local CBI-electric outlets, research quickly revealed that the items were reverse-engineered fakes. Physically they appeared nearly identical to the real products, but the counterfeits proved to have some serious technical deficiencies.

This has put some pressure on industrial supply retailers to ensure that their electrical merchandise is authentic and purchased from reliable sources in order to prevent the safety hazards that come with faulty electrical equipment. Companies that focus on the sale of specialty items (circuit breakers, et. al.) that fall outside the realm of consumer goods have to pay special attention to their inventories.

To the naked eye, the illegal products are virtually indistinguishable from authentic CBI-electric components and goods. The entire faulty replica ELPUs and MCBs are stamped with illegal CBI brand name markings, including the CBI marks of quality approval:

  • SABS
  • VDE
  • CE

Beauty In the Eye of the Beholder—Unless the Beholder Smells Smoke

Although the imitation CBI components look and feel like the real thing, performance can’t be more different. The counterfeit products, ELPUs and MCBs alike, have failed in nearly every area of safety implementation. Here are some examples of failure:

  • General overheating under normal power loads
  • Failure to manage short circuit conditions
  • Lack of response to situations involving earth leakage
  • Failure to trip in response to prescribed overload conditions
  • Igniting or melting even when under normal and expected power loads
  • Complications and failure to reset correctly after a trip-out.

ESFI Provides Various Tips to Help Reduce the Flow of Dangerous Counterfeit Electrical Products

CBI-electric is not alone in the war against faulty counterfeit products. Neither is South Africa. This global problem affects every nation on the planet. With limited policing and few compulsory national specifications, though, South Africa is among the list of countries most often targeted.

However, the ESFI acknowledges that faulty counterfeit electric components flow a daily course that ends up in the businesses, homes and public institutions of every nation. The risk to public safety and health, including the financial factors involving possible structural damage to companies and homes, has reached a state of grave crisis. The issue demands immediate action.

To help combat the problem and promote better consumer awareness, the ESFI has moved in conjunction with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to establish a special website devoted to electrical counterfeit awareness. The website, Counterfeits Can Kill, serves both the English and the Spanish communities.


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