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Dangers of counterfeit parts, unofficial maintenance technicians in packaging trade

Author : Ian Aitchison, Technical Director, Yamato Scale Dataweigh

12 October 2012

The harsh economic climate continues to be tough on businesses and ‘streamlining’ has become a watchword for the industry. However, it’s important to recognise the difference between smart, cost saving strategies that will reduce expenditure, and the corner-cutting stunts that only deliver inefficiency, stress and longterm financial loss.

The recession has seen a marked increase in the number of companies attempting to reduce overheads by investing in counterfeit parts and unofficial technicians, but the longterm damage this causes to performance outweighs any short-term advantage.

The threats posed by the introduction of counterfeit parts into machinery are numerous and usually severe; in contrast, any ‘benefits’ they can provide are often minor. Once problems caused by non-standard parts occur, the input of a generic technician, someone who does not have the knowledge of the specific machine involved, compounds the issue.

The net results include more downtime of longer periods, lower quality operations, higher costs and damaged reputations.

Only by using genuine parts can businesses guarantee both the serviceability and the accuracy of packaging machines and weighers. Even if the machine continues to run in the short term, accuracy is regularly compromised, which ultimately leads to incorrect packages being distributed.

Products with inaccurate weights and contents will infuriate customers more than any other issue, so even if a machine continues to operate from a mechanical perspective, the serious problems it causes through inaccuracy will go unnoticed until the final products reach customers and the complaints come in.

In addition to expertise, the aftercare packages customers have access to is another key advantage of working with a reputable manufacturer. At Yamato, we carry out a health check and then base our quote on the level of work required. We can also carry out a Certified Calibration visit for audit purposes and have an out of hours support package in place which includes a rapid response feature for emergency breakdown situations.

There are no short term fixes to the challenges posed by the recession, but the accuracy, reliability and efficiency of machines should be the last thing businesses are gambling with.

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