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Press Parts - OEM vs Aftermarket



If you have the luxury of working in a printing plant that uses only OEM parts, my hats off to you.  It says a lot about where you work.  For the rest of us that use aftermarket parts, I thought I would list the pros and cons of each since we have seen the pitfalls of both.  Even though you may not be the decision maker, I thought some of you would appreciate some of the pitfalls of each.

OEM PARTS

Pros

Good Quality - Your press manufacturer will provide the exact part you need, designed to do precisely what you need.  Plug and play.
Warranty - If the part doesn't work, a manufacturer will stand behind the product and usually back it up with some sort of warranty.  We have had this happen a couple of times.
Exact Parts - Finding parts is a no brainer.  The press manufacturer will have the exact part and you do not need to choose between different brands or types.

Cons

More Expensive - Manufactured in Germany?  Then that's the price you pay for German engineering.  Manufactured in China?  I guess you get what you paid for.
One Source - There is no choice where to buy the part.  You have one choice and you pay the price you are given.  I am certain that press manufacturers abuse this market like any others.  Just like buying the printer for your computer and then finding out the replacement cartridge costs more than the actual printer.
Quality is not always better - Many aftermarket parts produce better replacement parts than the press manufacturer itself.  You could be paying for just the name.

Aftermarket Parts

Pros

Cheaper - Hands down, usually the number one reason to buy them.
Availability - Most of our parts come from Germany when we order OEM.  Who has time to wait for that?  If there is a local parts manufacturer, you can wait hours instead of days.  Who has time to wait when the press is down?
Quality can be better - This can sometimes be the case.  Sometimes these aftermarket dealers improve on the part and try to get the edge this way.

Cons

Difficult to select the best - The selection can be difficult if there are too many choices.  Quality can vary.
No warranty - You will not always get a parts dealer that will stand behind their part with a warranty.  This helps to keep the price down.
Variations in quality - Aftermarket press parts manufacturers who have reverse engineered their parts will sometimes use inferior materials to keep the price down.  You get what you pay for.  

Which is best?

I worked at a company that was so cheap that they preferred we held everything together with twist ties.  I don't work there anymore, but I am now thankful just to get replacement parts - no matter where they come from.  Having said that, I cast my vote for OEM press parts.  Nothing beats the quality... as long as I don't have to pay for it.

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