Pumps & Systems, November 2012
When replacing parts and components for pumps and the systems that they serve, it pays to “get real.” Whatever they are called—pirated, copy-cat, replicated or knock-off—non-original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts are not the answer when a pump or system requires service. Buying and installing the wrong product can cause a major problem. It can lead to lost production time and reduced profits.
In many cases, use of any parts that are not from the OEM will void the pump’s warranty. In a worst case scenario, it may cause injury or perhaps death. That adds an element of liability. However, every day original stators, seals and rotors, among other parts, are replaced with products that do not meet the pump OEM’s specifications.
This is usually done innocently—someone is trying to save time or stretch a maintenance budget. In a best case scenario, the parts may work for a given amount of time. But they will probably not provide any savings in the long run because they will likely need to be replaced ahead of scheduled maintenance because they are not made to the manufacturer’s specifications and/or tolerances. The non-OEM parts may be made from a different material that reduces the pump’s ability to operate properly or varies the quality of the end product. This negates any savings or uptime gains. Sometimes, replacement parts are misrepresented as from the OEM, so a user may not be aware that it is not. However, buying in innocence can lead to problems. It pays for end users to do their homework.
Nothing Like the Real Thing
A decade ago, a paper mill purchased a number of progressing cavity pumps. After initially maintaining the pumps with parts purchased directly from the OEM during scheduled maintenance, the mill decided to seek a less expensive option. A local reseller promoted itself as a distributor of the manufacturer’s products for less. In reality, the reseller provided replicated parts that dimensionally matched the manufacturer’s parts. However, with time, the mill began to replace stators, rotors and pin joints nearly twice as often as previously needed. They contacted the manufacturer—who was able to prove that the reseller sold them replicated parts, made from a different base material with poor chroming, which contributed to the premature failures. Returning to the OEM’s original parts solved the problem. In addition, the manufacturer offered a recently-introduced, advanced stator solution that increased stator service life by up to three times that of the original stator.