Using pirate parts in crushing and screening equipment could cost a company in the long run, writes Emile Naude and Jacques Erasmus.
All photos by Pilot Crushtec
It goes without saying that everyone loves a short-term gain. This is especially true in the current economic climate where everyone is trying to shave a bit from their operating expenses. An easy mark, for any company, would seem to be saving on spares, wears and replacement parts. Finding generic suppliers for copied parts and consumables you use on your crushing and screening machines is not difficult, but it could cost you a lot in the long run.
The abundance of pirate parts and knock-off manufacturers is not a new phenomenon and is certainly not limited to any specific industry. We constantly see companies trying to save a little cash by buying pirate parts. This happens in all industries. As soon as you release a new machine, someone out there is going to reverse engineer it and start selling parts. There is a misconception that these parts are just as good as the originals and, due to the price-point, a significant saving can be made. It must, however, be remembered that the original manufacturer spent millions on resources, research and development, testing and market research, while the pirate versions are simply copied imitations.
Wear on machines
As an example, one needs to simply look at one facet of the business: the wear-items on a machine. We look at liners and the process of getting the manufacturing process absolutely perfect. To ensure your quality is correct, you have to put it through its paces. Essentially, you manufacture the liner along with the machine design and put those liners through a set of tests, testing the tensile strength, manganese content and gauging its failure point and maximum production levels so that the customer has peace of mind while working within defined parameters.
Once you have your design and process in place, you will start casting your liners and ensure that there is continual testing and evaluation of the product, to ensure that the quality of the part and the end-product remains the same. Pirate manufacturers don’t have the same stringent checks, knowledge of the machine design and production performance in place, and the liners fail and wear out far quicker or adversely affect the machine performance.
In addition to the technical expertise required, the cast liners use stringent metallurgical guidelines that need to be followed. To cast a specific liner, weighing 2135kg, one needs to use approximately 2900kg of liquid metal. The excess is waste that is cut away and machined off to ensure that the product meets a stringent tolerance. One would also need to ensure that the raw materials used are correct. You can use scrap metal, but there are far too many impurities present which are costly to remove. Metso, suppliers of our liners, use very high-quality raw materials and produce a class end-product in line with their ISO certification.
Thereafter, the liner is quenched, which needs to be done at a precise, controlled temperature to ensure perfect tempering. These are the processes that pirate manufacturers either don’t bother about, or cannot afford, and therefore produce an inferior product.
Total Cost of Ownership
Unfortunately, the end user doesn’t necessarily know this before purchasing and exactly what the work is that goes into producing a quality liner, or they are driven solely on price. At the end of the day, you will find very little attention to detail when it comes to pirate parts. Thickness of the liners can vary, lifting lugs are left off, and material integrity is not up to spec, among other things. These are elements that clients and buyers may not be aware of when purchasing and it needs to be pointed out. If a liner is thicker, it does not mean it will last longer. We have clients who preferred knock-off products and are now using only original OEM parts. This came about through tests we ran with them, putting the different liners head-to-head.
It was found that the Metso OEM liner produced 30-35% more than the pirate part, and the operating costs were lowered significantly. On that specific machine, our liner was only 6% more expensive than the pirate part. These figures speak for themselves when you look at the value of the increased production and decreased operating costs.
The total cost of ownership must be taken into account when purchasing parts. Looking at the purchase price alone does not tell the whole story. You need to look at the features, understand the savings in maintenance and operating costs, realise the increase in productivity, and remember that the after-sales service offered by legitimate manufacturers. You get the added benefit of the support structure, should there be any failures or problems, then with a genuine OEM part, it will be covered by a warranty. This is something you are not going to find anywhere but with an original equipment manufacturer.
Liners for specific applications
Customers must realise that OEM liners are specifically designed for a specific unit and specific applications. This means, with the technology we use to design and simulate our products, we can identify each outcome to within a 90% accuracy coefficient, guaranteed. By cutting costs in purchasing non-OEM liners, you are taking away the risk of damaging the units.
The liners for each unit are designed specifically for each machine to ensure the weights, dimensions and profiles for the customers unit are perfect, and have the correct cavity in conjunction with their application. By trying to save money in the purchasing process you run the risk of cheaper parts wearing out faster, poor unit performance, and a drop in production overall – not to mention the added risk of possibly damaging the unit and leading to far more expensive repair work.
By not using the correct profile you will also hike some power draws with the operation of the unit, meaning that the unit will use more power to move the material through the cavity. When using OEM liners we have a, ‘free of charge’ service where we help our customers to optimise their production in their plant, by doing liner profiling to see what the correct liner for the application is – and also do a complete simulation of the process, to optimise the customer’s complete crushing and screening plant.
The benefits of using optimised OEM liners include:
- eliminating power spikes to protect the crusher;
- longer wear life through more even wear and better liner utilisation;
- higher capacity;
- reduced energy consumption;
- better end-product graduation; and
- accountability and warranties.
Emile Naude is spares sales manager at Pilot Crushtec.
Jacques Erasmus is aftermarket sales engineer at Pilot Crushtec.