EDITORIAL: Imitation, a dangerous form of flattery

By: Chris Smith

The recent issue in Epping of a handbrake disengaging on a bus and it rolling onto a railway track —

The recent issue in Epping of a handbrake disengaging on a bus and it rolling onto a railway track — not sure if you saw it in the media — but it brought to the surface some underlying issues, one being the use of non-genuine parts in maintenance schedules.

We don’t know if the handbrake lever in question was genuine or not at this stage, but that is irrelevant, the fact is non-genuine parts can lead to a world of grief if a situation like this happened and the operator had been found to be using inferior parts — especially if there was a fatality.

It is the age-old question of price verse quality when it comes to buying spare parts.

Profit margins are tight in the bus business, and every cost has to be monitored in order to remain commercially viable.

But what happens when operators choose to buy parts that look the same and appear to initially behave the same way as the more expensive genuine part?

In most cases the material specification is rationalised, because it is reverse engineered, so there is a real risk that these parts will not fit correctly.

Non-genuine parts are generally more difficult to fit, but this is not a rule say the experts.

They may not adhere to Australian Design Rules.

This can result in rapid wear, compromised performance, poor reliability, higher oil and fuel consumption and even component damage or engine failure.

Using genuine parts will help your bus run smoothly with minimal disruption.

Well, if something does go wrong, and the chances are something will using imitation parts, then ultimately it falls back onto the operator under chain of responsibility laws.

We now have our survey in the March 2008 Australasian Bus+Coach magazine and online, click here to participate or send through the survey by post for your chance to have your say on the magazine and possibly win a great prize.

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