The issue of rogue parts is regularly reviewed at meetings of the Society of Laundry Engineers and Allied Trades, and, currently, the supply of components which are not manufacturer-approved continues to be regarded as a problem in the UK though it is seen as a stable rather than growing one.

One laundry machinery producer told LCN that while the problem of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts is not an increasing one, the situation is nevertheless of major concern.

Copy components which are “about the same” as OEM parts can lead to disasters. The failure of copy bearings for a washer-extractor, or a copy steam valve, may have horrendous consequences.

Machine and part design parameters change and a non-approved supplier of components is unlikely to have up-to-date information. A valve or a fuse, while appearing correct for a given item of equipment, may be subtly inappropriate—a subtleness which can lead to serious, even dangerous, problems.

Parts should be ordered directly through the equipment manufacturer’s parts division or through an agent or distributor approved by the manufacturer.

Checks A prominent drycleaning machine supplier says the issue of non-OEM parts “hovers in the background” and is not a day-to-day major concern. Substandard parts from abroad are continuing to arrive in the UK.

Extreme care needs to be taken in ordering components, with a check made on the OEM part number and the serial number of the machine to which it is to be fitted, the drycleaning machine supplier states. Parts do become modified in the production run of a machine—the length of a shaft may be changed, for example.

A major supplier of smaller laundry equipment considers “the tide has turned on copy parts” in the launderette sector, with operators no longer prepared to tolerate second rate parts and “corner cutting” repair work which can require subsequent service work to be conducted.

Indeed, customer expectations on service are now elevated to a point where an engineer is required to visit the same day that a request for a call is made, or the next day.

Better buying practices, and a determination by equipment manufacturers and some service businesses to stamp out supplies of copy parts, has led to the price of genuine parts being driven down.

Buyers of components wanting to ensure they are purchasing authorised items should inspect packaging as well as the parts themselves. If any suspicions are aroused, it is sensible to phone the equipment’s manufacturer or distributor.

Spares and service back up should be regarded as important as equipment itself. A machine may be the latest available, but if a replacement part cannot be speedily obtained and correctly fitted then a great deal of valuable production time may be lost.

An out-of-action drycleaning machine can bring short-term misery for a unit shop, and a faulty membrane press in a continuous washing system can result in laundry work quickly and unnervingly piling up.

Launderers, drycleaners, and operators of launderettes and on-premises laundries who are purchasing new equipment need to ensure that spares availability—for the entire envisaged service life of the machine—is assured as are arrangements for fitting parts.

It is good practice to ask the equipment supplier how distribution channels for spare parts are organised. The provision of spares can be a major source of revenue for equipment manufacturers—so helpful advice ought to be available.

When equipment manufactured abroad is being considered for installtion, there should be an investigation into what spare part stock holding arrangements the national or local distributor has.

It may not be realistic for a distributor to hold all parts, but the route for supplies of spares from manufacturer to distributor to customer should be a streamlined one.

Regardless of where equipment is made, why not contact a few customers of the company which is to supply spare parts? A check can be made to see if promises made about component delivery arrangements are satisfactorily met. Ask the supplier for the names of the customers. Also, why not visit the spare parts supplier to see how orders for components are handled?


* Avoid copy or rogue parts.
* Don’t allow a machine’s CE status or warranty to be infringed.
* Ensure parts will be quickly available.
* When buying any equipment, ensure that spares will be available for its entire envisaged service life.
* Make sure satisfactory service back up will be provided to fit parts.
* When buying reconditioned equipment, check that any replacement parts which have been introduced are approved by the original manufacturer of the equipment.