Fake fork­lifts parts cause con­cern

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - By Steve Hart

Coun­ter­feit fork­lift at­tach­ments be­ing sold in New Zealand could put lives at risk, claims a sales man­ager at East West En­gi­neer­ing.

The Aus­tralian firm, which has been in busi­ness for 36 years and opened its Auck­land branch nine months ago, de­signs and builds fork­lift at­tach­ments such as fork ex­ten­sions, man cages and drum han­dlers.

Graeme But­ler, the firm's New Zealand sales man­ager, says people risk be­ing in­jured due to the poor qual­ity of coun­ter­feit prod­ucts be­ing sold – prod­ucts that are di­rect knock-offs based on the firm's de­signs.

“We have some of our equip­ment built in China, and now coun­ter­feit ver­sions of our prod­ucts are be­ing sold in New Zealand – and they look like they also come from China,” he says.

He claims that while some prod­ucts look like those made by East West En­gi­neer­ing, the ma­te­ri­als used in the con­struc­tion of the coun­ter­feit prod­ucts are not as strong.

“The dif­fer­ences be­tween our prod­ucts and the knock­offs are the grades of steel used, and the qual­ity of the weld­ing,” he says. “They do not ap­pear to come with any as­sur­ance as to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or safety rat­ings.”

East West En­gi­neer­ing al­lows the plans for its equip­ment to be down­loaded from its web­site, some­thing Graeme be­lieves may have helped man­u­fac­tur­ers in China copy its prod­ucts.

“We put our de­signs on the site to show people that our prod­ucts com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions,” he says. “What we have found for sale now are coun­ter­feit ver­sions of our prod­ucts.

“What gets me the most is that I saw a per­son­nel crane cage for sale in Auck­land with no cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, rat­ing, or la­belling on it at all.”

Graeme says there is lit­tle a small com­pany such as East West En­gi­neer­ing can do against the coun­ter­feit­ers, and those who sell the knock-offs, but is hop­ing to alert buy­ers to look for gen­uine and cer­ti­fied prod­ucts when plac­ing or­ders. The firm isn't plan­ning any le­gal ac­tion, and has not re­ported its find­ings to any in­dus­try watch­dog.

Graeme says there's no point in get­ting lawyers in­volved be­cause the people sell­ing coun­ter­feits wouldn't take any no­tice.

“These people haven't taken any no­tice so far,” he says

“We don't want to close down firms sell­ing knock-off ver­sions of our equip­ment, but people need to un­der­stand the risks of not us­ing cer­ti­fied equip­ment.

“It's not about hop­ing to stop it, it's about pub­lic aware­ness of the is­sues, and that prod­ucts such as these need to com­ply with the laws and reg­u­la­tions.

“Buy­ers need to al­ways ask to see the com­pli­ance cer­tifi­cate for the item they are buy­ing. I have heard sto­ries that firms sup­ply­ing coun­ter­feit per­son­nel cages will of­fer to get a cer­tifi­cate af­ter the pur­chase – but that's like sell­ing a car with­out a war­rant of fit­ness.

“Our gear is sup­plied with in­struc­tions, risk as­sess­ment man­u­als, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and load rat­ing plates.”

A ‘man cage’, the gen­uine ar­ti­cle, from East West En­gi­neer­ing.

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