NOT what they seem
Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
Counterfeit parts continue to be a problem within the trucking industry, as well as in other industries, and it is a situation that will continue. According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “parts counterfeiting has increased in magnitude and complexity, costing industry billions of dollars, as well as posing safety risks.” More than 14,000 counterfeit parts were seized last year — a 67% increase over 2005. Nevertheless, measures can be taken to avoid counterfeit parts and the liability issues that often come with them.
These matters were the subject of a panel discussion, “The Truth Behind Counterfeit Parts,” during the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) annual business forum, in Baltimore, Maryland. CVSN is the largest association of independent aftermarket distributors serving the commercial vehicle industry.
Participating on the panel were Dominic Grote, vice president, sales and marketing, Grote Industries; Brad Van Riper Sr, vice president and chief technology officer, Truck-Lite; Chuck Kleinhagen Sr, vice president, head of technology, Haldex; and Andrew Cifranic, brand manager, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. Moderating the panel was Wayne Keller, president, Keller Truck Parts.
Beginning the session, Keller said there is nothing wrong with imported parts, provided they are brought in from reliable sources. The key is to be able to distinguish counterfeit parts — also referred to as knockoffs, will fits, and copycats — from genuine parts. No easy task because it is often difficult to distinguish between a genuine and a counterfeit part.
The overall message echoed by each of the panelists: The quality of a product cannot be determined by visual inspection.
A common thread among importers of counterfeit, non-compliant parts, especially those manufacturing lighting products, is that they have no North American manufacturing facilities or domestic quality control, said Grote.
“They do very little to no engineering, and use ‘China-grade materials’ — materials that have wide variances in quality,” he said.
He noted that just over the past several months there have been recalls of Chinese-made car fuses that don't blow when they should and could cause fires; Chinese-made light truck tires that contained “unauthorized material” in the sidewalls and might come apart; toothpaste made in China containing diethylene glycol, a substance used in antifreeze; and a third global recall of Chinese-made toys for Mattel because they contained hazardous levels of lead paint.
“All of these are safety issues,” Grote said, “stemming from standards and requirements not being met.” This is particularly important for lighting because of compliance safety issues associated with the brightness of a lamp and distance visibility.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus