Spare parts – genuine concern
01 August 2013
Using non-genuine spare parts in place of the manufacturer’s original components can be detrimental to the performance of air compressors, warns Colin Mander at compressor manufacturer, Gardner Denver. Here, he outlines the issues that the use of non-genuine parts caused one customer – Suffolk Yacht Harbour – and the steps necessary to rectify the problems.
Using inferior quality parts can lead to significant cost implications; whether by affecting final air quality and causing problems at the point of use or, in worst case scenarios, damaging the internal workings of the machine and affecting compressor performance.
Suffolk Yacht Harbour, a boat builder and repairer, had been using compressors from Hydrovane, a Gardner Denver brand, in its workshop for 30-years, ensuring that they were serviced regularly and, with the expectation that only genuine spare parts and lubricants were installed. As a result, the customer enjoyed consistent, high performance from the machine, without encountering any real maintenance issues.
About six years ago, the company invested in a new HV07 Hydrovane compressor, which was maintained professionally using the manufacturer’s replacement parts.
However, when its original service contractor ceasing business, a new service agent approached the business to carry out work on the units. Unfortunately, this new provider proceeded to install non-genuine oil and air filters as well as using non-specified lubricating oil – resulting in irreparable damage to the compressor in a very short space of time.
Newly-contracted Hydrovane distributor, C.H. Air and Pump was brought in to assess and rectify the problems, as Jerry Cross at the company explains: "Suffolk Yacht Harbour noticed that one of its compressors was making unusual noises and its performance had decreased dramatically. As the local Hydrovane distributor, we were called in to identify the cause of the problem and, after inspection, discovered that a blade had snapped and that there was a hairline crack in the rotor. Closer examination revealed that non-genuine air and oil filters had been installed, without Suffolk Yacht Harbour’s knowledge.
"We also discovered that the cabinet had not been put back together properly, with screws missing, and those that were in place were non-specified parts.
"We were astonished at the damage that the component parts had caused in such a short space of time.
"It is common knowledge that using non-specified parts can seriously damage the health of a compressor, but to see the effects to that extent was shocking.
"Unfortunately, the compressor was beyond repair and in the end, the customer had no choice but to replace the machine with an identical, new unit.”
Any compressor, whether brand new or one that has been performing well for many years will, in the normal course of operation require components to be periodically replaced. These will include service items such as filters, valves, seals and oil.
Unless a genuine, like-for-like replacement part is used, there can be no guarantee that the original performance will be maintained. Non-genuine parts are often not manufactured to the same specification as the manufacturer’s original.
By virtue of the fact that they are engineered to cost less, they will typically incorporate inferior components that cannot offer the same levels of energy efficiency or performance reliability.
Joshua Major from Suffollk Yacht Harbour explains, "I wasn’t aware that our previous service provider was installing non-genuine parts, but similarly, I wasn’t aware that using them could cause such considerable damage.
"Because non-genuine parts were used, the warranty became void and things just got worse when C.H. Air and Pump informed us that the compressor was beyond repair. It has certainly taught us all a lesson about non-specified parts.”
As is evident from Suffolk Yacht Harbour and C.H. Air and Pump’s experience, non-genuine parts can cause extensive damage, leading to expensive downtime and repairs and in the worst cases, can cause total equipment failure, even with a new compressor.