Why Buy Genuine OEM Parts?
In these harsh economic times everybody is looking after their pennies. If they are not, then they should be for the well being of their business. But you should also be looking to avoid false economies that can be very expensive in the long term. The choice of spare parts you choose to fit to catering equipment is a typical example. A genuine OEM part has been chosen by the equipment manufacturer for the job it has to do, which is your guarantee of efficient and safe operation of the equipment to which it is fitted. But some will always try to see if there is a cheaper way of doing the repair.
Generic components are often, but not always, a cheaper alternative to OEM parts. But will the part operate efficiently, offer the same service life and, most importantly, will it be safe? While an item of equipment may look the same and may even have the same part number, it may not be suitable for the job you are expecting it to do. For instance OEM thermostats from Valentine Fabrique are factory calibrated to reduce the power consumption to the elements in stages just prior to the maximum oil temperature being reached. By reducing the element power, the oil temperature will not excessively overheat. The calibrated 7th pin on these thermostats is also used to operate the temperature indicating lamp that has been fitted to Valentine fryers since the 1980’s. If the correct thermostat is not fitted the user will not be aware of when the oil has reached the correct temperature.
Manufacturers update components as they gain experience with their products in service and parts can be changed to provide improved reliability or to overcome problems. So even fitting a direct replacement component is no guarantee of best performance.
For many years products sold in the UK have been CE marked to signify compliance with European safety requirements. With gas appliances this has involved testing by an independent body to ensure compliance. Fitting an inappropriate part negates this testing procedure and makes the CE mark worthless.
Counterfeit components purporting to be from major brands but often coming from the Far East are also a risk when sourcing parts from sources you know little of via the web.
Universal components do, of course, have an important part to play in our industry, particularly when they are of high quality and offer a performance similar, or even superior, to an OEM part. Nobody expects an engineer to fill his van stock with identical parts from different manufactures when one will do the job. But safety and efficient performance should always be the paramount consideration.