Although they say that imitation is one of the sincerest forms of flattery, one company, Australian Pumps Industries recently caught out a scrupulous importer of third world products importing a copy of Aussie’s top-quality Fire Chief pumps, the world’s best lightweight portable fire pump.
Australian Pumps Industries introduced the Aussie Fire Chief to the market when the company kicked off its operations around 27 years ago. Since that time, the Aussie Fire Chief has been used by major government departments, professional firefighters, farmers and even earthmoving contractors who use this great product for a wide range of duties.
The Aussie Fire Chief is claimed to out feature and out-perform all of its competitors and provides better value for money as well! Apart from that, the company backs it’s a product, part of the Aussie QP (Quik Prime) self-priming pumps range with a five-year warranty!
The counterfeits first came on the market, some months ago. Our customers who bought them by mistake, thinking they were getting our product, at a lower price notified us about the poor finish of the product.
“Although the pump looks like the Fire Chief, when we went through tests and examinations of all components we found that it was purely a very poor counterfeit”, said Aussie Pumps Chief Engineer, John Hales. “Apart from our own examinations, we also sent samples to a very high tech pump laboratory in Japan who also verified our initial findings”, he said.
“The pump, that can be clearly identified as a counterfeit by its chrome plating of the aluminium pump housing and the way the brand name has been eliminated on the position where the Aussie QP brand is shown”, said Hales. The company found major discrepancies with the counterfeit including poor machining, issues with castings and overall poor performance.
“Mistakes by the copiers in impeller design, means that the pump will overload the Honda engine that we use and which we understand they are using to drive this unit”, said Hales.
Australian Pump claim this is a matter of dimensional errors that causes the Honda engine to overload and drop by around 10% of its speed with consequent loss of performance.
“Losing pressure performance could be the difference between whether you put out a fire or not”, said Hales. “Tests also showed that the poor machining created leakage between the suction cap, the check valve and the delivery cover packing. That has a pressure of 7.5 kg per cm2”, he said.
This leakage was generated by the aluminium burs that were around the ejector pin on the sealing surface of the suction and delivery covers.
“We suppose the counterfeit just copied the components without realising the importance of sealing of the priming’s key point. From a casting point of view, the analysts observed that the gas purging structure of some of the components was poor.
Australian Pumps say that firefighting pumps are supposed to perform in line with the claims of the manufacturers and be capable of working in the most extreme conditions.
“Buying a counterfeit pump at a good price might seem like a good idea at the time”, said Hales.
“We understand that chrome plating is a cosmetic effect. However, we even found the chrome plating was uneven, indicating poor quality or rushed job”, said Hales. To summarise, in this particular case, the counterfeit pump weighs significantly less than the standard Aussie version, using less material. The performance was poor and fundamental quality issues were observed which would ultimately mean the pump would never perform in line with the performance of the original Aussie Fire Chief.
Both dealers and consumers need to be warned. Buying a counterfeit is always a risk and you have to question the integrity and ethics of the supplier, bearing in mind, copies are rarely an improvement of the original! As they say, be warned.
Further information on the copy product is readily available from Australian Pump Industries.