Fake forklifts parts cause concern
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.