The dangers of counterfeit parts

The harsh economic climate continues to be tough for businesses who increasingly look to ‘streamline’ manufacturing processes to improve productivity. It’s during times like these, that businesses must recognise the difference between smart, cost saving technologies that will reduce expenditure and the corner-cutting short cuts that will only lead to inefficiency and long-term financial losses.

Unfortunately, the recent recession has seen a marked increase in the number of businesses taking short cuts in a bid to reduce overheads fast. The risk? Counterfeit parts and unaccredited technicians that cause damages that far outweigh any short-term financial advantages.

The dangers posed by introducing counterfeit parts are numerous and usually result in severe damages and delays. Once these problems occur, the involvement of an unaccredited or inexperienced technician, who does not have the knowledge of the machine in question, can only exasperate the issue. The effects on the plant floor? Extended downtime of longer periods, lower quality operations, higher costs and damaged reputations.

One of the biggest areas of concern for counterfeit parts is electronic boards. Often the cheaper components have inherently larger tolerances and therefore provide less accurate results. Imagine goal posts on a football pitch. If you were to double the width of the goal, think of how much easier it would be to score as a result. Packaging machines that have their tolerances set too broadly will lead to inconsistencies in product size and weight. In addition, these boards are often assembled using sub standard machine parts that can be difficult to fit and wear down far quicker than the genuine components.

Only by using genuine parts can businesses guarantee the levels of service and accuracy required of modern-day packaging and weighing machines. One such example of the damages counterfeit parts can cause comes from a Yamato customer. After a period of absence, the customer approached us, expressing concern over the performance of the installed machinery. On visiting the site, our engineers discovered the machine had been left to deteriorate to the point where it was out of action and in pieces. Within a couple of hours, our team quickly reassembled, serviced and ensured the machine was working efficiently. I still use this as an example of what not to do, and how quickly things can go wrong when machinery is not serviced or monitored correctly.

Counterfeit parts can also cause poor accuracy. Products with inaccurate weights and contents infuriate customers and can result in lost sales.

It’s important that manufacturers consider the expertise that comes with investing in genuine parts and experienced, knowledgeable maintenance engineers. Even with after-care or repairs, we’re keen to ensure a genuine service is delivered consistently. At Yamato, we carry out a health check and then base our maintenance quotes on the level of work required. We can also carry out a certified calibration check for auditing purposes and have an out of hours support package in place to ensure a rapid response is available for emergency breakdown situations.

Unfortunately, there are no short-term fixes to the challenges facing businesses during a recession, but the accuracy, reliability and efficiency of manufacturers’ machinery should be the last thing businesses are gambling on.