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Knock-off products can cause disastrous failures

29 September 2009

Applications in many industry branches, such as chemical and pharmaceutical engineering, or petroleum and natural gas production and processing, are exposed to explosion hazards due to flammable substances that may be released in the course of production, processing, storage, and transport. Actual explosions can cause serious injuries to people and severe damage to property.

Knock-off products can cause disastrous failures
Knock-off products can cause disastrous failures

In order to reliably prevent such incidents, explosion-protected electrical equipment is used in hazardous areas. Such devices, e.g. lights, installation material, switchgear, and automation technology, are designed in a way that prevents them from becoming ignition sources.

Components for use in hazardous areas are manufactured and tested according to high quality standards to ensure smooth operations and safe usability.

However, copies of such explosion-protected products have been appearing in various markets for some time now. The suppliers of these knock-offs claim to have developed their products themselves and refer to various certificates from testing laboratories. In fact, even a quick comparison often shows that these devices are replicas of brand products. Moreover, R. Stahl has carried out various tests with such knock-offs that have produced alarming results: due to inferior materials and sub-standard manufacturing technologies, many replicas fail to meet the required explosion protection standards even under light stress. Deploying such components in hazardous areas can therefore lead to disastrous failures that threaten the health and life of employees and may result in the destruction of machines and plants.

Those who regard counterfeit products as a welcome opportunity to lower their costs, thinking they can purchase the equivalent of brand-name products at an attractive price, should consider the risks. "Knock-offs can cause a great deal of damage especially in hazardous areas, where safety is absolutely crucial," explained Dr. Thorsten Arnhold, Vice President Product Management and Marketing. "Manufacturers of such fakes are only in it for the quick sell, and do not have the required safety technology expertise. Product pirates do not offer safe products, and neither do they provide adequate, professional user guidance and consulting, safe problem solutions, quick and reliable supply of spare parts, or accurate technical documentation."

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