Too often, we get calls from clients to inspect prematurely-failed components that came from who knows where. In most cases, it turns out, “who knows where” is China.
As tempting as it can be to purchase something that someone has “on the shelf” or is considerably cheaper than industry norms, we have yet to run into a client who is glad they made that decision when we stand with them on the shop floor, a machine down, and a red-faced plant manager demanding to know when the machine will be back up.
Find out just how bad these imported components can be and how to avoid them.
Here’s a technical analysis we had performed on a Chinese knock-off barrel that was represented as having come from a world-class domestic barrel supplier. Unfortunately, not only was this client charged a premium price, they were sold an inferior component that literally wore out in a matter of months instead of a decade or more!
In attempting to reduce lead time and increase short-term profit margins, or just giving in to old fashioned greed, some screw and barrel suppliers have resorted to working with offshore manufacturers. When we say offshore in this case, it usually means “Made in China.” Many of these Far East manufacturers are more than willing to use substandard materials and manufacturing processes in an effort to flood the market and make a quick buck.
As you know, barrels are the most expensive component in the injection unit and are by far the most time-consuming and costly to replace.
Chinese parts are now being supplied by OEMs and aftermarket suppliers alike and described as “equivalent quality” to recognized brands. Those who peddle these items are able to offer a very attractive option by having nearly everything “on the shelf.”
That’s a red flag: the low cost enables large inventories that would otherwise be impossible to afford. Beware of suppliers that have instantly-available products at unbelievably-low prices and less-than-knowledgeable order takers. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” usually applies here.
These are, however, just some of the indicators. As we referenced above, many of the disreputable suppliers who are selling these Chinese counterfeits go well out of their way to make you think these parts are from a domestic supplier, including charging the same or more for their inferior products than what you would pay for a premium domestic product from MSI.
Bottom line is, barrels and screws are not a commodity — so don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Got a quote from a supplier that seems too be good to be true? Make sure you do your homework. The only way to avoid catastrophic losses like what we described above is to make sure what you are buying is coming from the first world. Don’t accept any excuses.
Look for more articles in upcoming issues on “competitive” quoting and doing honest comparisons.