Worth Every Rupee: Why Investing in Original Components Pays Off
Udo Benndorf-Giese,Project Manager Strategic Spare Parts Bosch Packaging Services

Producers increasingly address the challenge of meeting the growing demand with highperformance production machinery. Pharmaceutical manufacturers fully depend on these machines and all of their components. Companies who rely on equipment and spares from original manufacturers are sure to be on the safe side. Only originals guarantee permanent safety, reliability and profitability - and are worth every rupee.

Because of the strong economic growth as well as the expansion of regional infrastructure and industry, the requirements and expenditure for pharmaceutical products are rising significantly. Typically, the demand for reliable and productive machinery increases wherever industry expands, but even the most durable machine will require single components to be exchanged during its life cycle. This is where counterfeiters sense a lucrative business. The International Chamber of Commerce estimates that counterfeiting accounts for between five and seven percent of world trade . Historically, the problematic nature of imitation spare parts has been known primarily in the automotive and electronics industries.

Fits Like a Glove
For manufacturers of pharmaceuticals worldwide, the growing number of counterfeit machine components constitutes an additional risk. Therefore working with reliable partners is becoming more and more important to them. With each regional market being characterised by its own very special requirements, machine suppliers must possess profound market knowledge. What's more, the spare parts for their machines must be available on a regional basis. As production companies in any market will know: original equipment suppliers not only provide best quality, they also offer reliable and durable components that make the investment in their spare parts pay for themselves in the long run.

The development, construction and design of a machine are based around the optimum interaction of different components within a complex system. Even the slightest variation of part specifications can result in serious damage to other machine elements. For an optimum command of a conveyor belt, for instance, all angles must be adjusted correctly and all parts must interlock exactly; counterfeit parts of inferior quality can rarely meet these constructive requirements. Once a machine no longer delivers the accustomed packaging speed, effectiveness or quality, the differences between originals and fakes become obvious. The risk of an unplanned machine stop is increased many times over.

Safety for Man and Machine
Complying with strict safety and quality criteria is especially important when it comes to the production and packaging of pharmaceuticals. It is essential for the producer's market success and contributes to the safety of patients, consumers and personnel. Counterfeit machine parts do not fulfill these high safety requirements; their assembly entails considerable risks that producers should not underestimate.

If, for instance, a substandard electronic component causes a short circuit, this can have devastating consequences for the entire production line and the employees. Highest safety levels can only be ensured by using quality -tested components. If required, the original manufacturer will supply detailed installation instructions as well as additional parts or special tools.

The Danger of Superficial Knowledge
High-quality original parts pass through additional heat treatment or coating processes to raise their lifespan and safety. Counterfeiters can only surmise these processes but do not possess the necessary engineering expertise to match that of the original manufacturer. If the defective component is already a couple of years old, pirates face an almost insoluble problem: They only see the part they want to copy in its worn-out form. They cannot know whether the original manufacturer has undertaken adaptions in the meantime, such as improving the machine's performance or safety.

At first sight, replicated components often appear identical to the originals. In many cases, only the installation reveals that not all elements fit perfectly into the original machine. Gearwheels, for example, must interlock down to the tenth of a millimeter; otherwise they jeopardise the trouble-freeproduction flow and can cause damages to the entire machine. Some counterfeiters have an astonishing amount of expert knowledge at their disposal, yet they are rarely able to bring this expertise in line with the special requirements of a certain industry's or an individual productís line concepts. As the demands of the industry for dimensions, tolerances and other compatibility criteria change over time, replicated parts cannot be assumed to conform to the state of the art.

False Economies
Machine components and spare parts from original manufactures comply with the high in-house standards regarding material, processing and safety, and are certified and licensed accordingly.

The user receives a quality guarantee and is entitled to warranty. Businesses that install counterfeit parts and safety components into original equipment will lose this claim. The GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) or ISO certificates required for product liability claims also lose their validity, as only the original parts can be verified and have been produced in compliance with these regulations.

The life expectancy of copied parts is significantly lower than that of certified components from original manufacturers. If a component with a 40 percent lower purchase price has to be exchanged three times more often, the purchasers have not achieved any savings. On the contrary: They must acquire and exchange replicas far more often, which in turn leads to more machine downtime and additional costs. Whilst original spare parts initially lead to higher purchasing costs, they result in longer life cycles for machines and ultimately in a lower total cost of ownership.

Invented for Life
Apart from manufacturing and delivering single parts, renowned original parts manufacturers offer their customers a broad after-sales service portfolio once the machine has been installed. This portfolio also includes maintenance and consulting services. On the basis of identification of components that are exposed to most wear and tear and the frequency of their replacement, customised maintenance plans can be defined and the spare parts management at the manufacturer's site can be optimised. Owing to machine operations, components which are in direct contact with the spare part that is to be replaced will also wear out. The replacement of individual elements may not always be realistic given production demands. In such cases, replacement with tailor-made parts or complete assembly groups can be considered to help minimise machine maintenance downtime.

In cases where a customer has unknowingly purchased counterfeit components from a third party, these parts need to be removed and exchanged for originals. The experts can then conduct the required repair work, so that the machine is restored into its original state. In contrast to unlicensed parts producers, original producers manufacture components based on original drawings, which are archived regardless of the machine's age.