Those who are charged with maintaining pumps are familiar with this scenario. The pump manufacturer says their parts, though they cost more, are more efficient, higher quality, and have a lower total cost of ownership. Replicated part manufacturers say their parts perform just as well as the OEM parts, and cost much less. The decision to purchase purely on initial price is easy. It’s cut and dried, black and white. But reliability focused maintenance departments say cost savings and delivery isn’t the only thing on which to base a decision.
Certainly, cost and delivery should be a consideration, but not the main focus. Before making a decision, determine the importance of these 6 other factors (that aren’t price!).
- Non-OEM parts will void the original manufacturer’s warranty.
- Potential to not meet OEM performance specs. Some parts are very difficult to replicate. The contours of impeller vanes in particular are very hard to accurately replicate. Even small changes in design can have a big impact on efficiency and performance.
- Copies could be made from worn parts. Non OEM parts are sometimes copied from worn OEM parts. Therefore, fits/tolerances made from these copies are oftentimes inaccurate, setting pumps up to fail from the start.
- No focus on improved performance. Part replicators are in the business of replicating parts. They don’t spend much (if any) time on R&D to keep up with the latest improvements in hydraulic efficiency.
- Most replicators are missing original drawings. OEMs are obsessed with quality and will meet ISP 9001 quality control standards. It’s impossible for non-OEMs to also meet these standards because they need the original drawings to do so.
- Exact materials may not match. Material mechanical properties and metallurgies might not meet the OEM standards, opening the door for corrosion, premature wear, or reducing pressure ratings.
We’re not saying you should NEVER use non-OEM parts. Sometimes there’s no other option. If the pump is obsolete and the only way to keep it running is to use replicated parts, then take that option. But if you’re considering using non-OEM parts when OEM parts are available, check these things first before deciding to source critical parts from a replicator.
- Will this void the manufacturer’s warranty?
- Do these parts maintain precise fits?
- Are the parts precise and exact copies of the OEM parts?
- Are these parts the most up to date design?
- Are the materials exactly the same?
- Does this supplier able to offer application expertise to solve pump problems?
- LAST – Does cost and delivery make sense for these parts?
Focusing on cost alone, without regard to quality or efficiency is a short-term cost savings strategy that will certainly cost you more in the long run.
Need to increase pump reliability? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses and municipalities in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.