Over the past few decades, the acceptance of replacement parts suppliers for engines used in the power generation market has evolved significantly. Today, the consistent quality, availability, coverage, and warranty of products from branded aftermarket suppliers are increasingly rivaling those of their OEM counterparts.
Those attributes are often particularly essential when it comes to parts—whether OEM or branded aftermarket—for servicing gensets that supply primary or standby electric power, or are integrated with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.
For example, a wide variety of industrial users require gensets for power at construction sites, mining and military operations, and offshore oil rigs. On-time production and worker safety at these types of facilities are highly dependent on the reliable availability of electric power.
Many industrial users rely on gensets to provide standby power, which may be critical to continuing production, and to keep costly equipment running during blackouts. Others may use natural gas or diesel-generated power to provide electric energy as an alternative to grid power during specific hours in order to avoid high “peak” energy costs.
In some applications, gensets are integrated with UPS to provide extended backup capability. These may include data centers, healthcare facilities, and pharmaceutical labs, where continuing patient procedures, maintaining critical temperature ranges, or preventing data losses are critical concerns.
ACTING LIKE OEMS
The trend toward using branded aftermarket parts suppliers to maintain gensets and many other heavy-duty applications has resulted largely from the ability of some of these suppliers to deliver high-quality parts on time at competitive or even lower price points.
In fact, many leading branded aftermarket suppliers are increasingly acting like OEMs, adopting advanced manufacturing and quality assurance programs, incorporating lean manufacturing techniques, or offering products individually as well as in kits and sets to facilitate engine overhauls.
Not only are these aftermarket suppliers meeting stringent OEM tolerances, but in some instances they are also providing value-added marketing and customer support services, providing excellent availability, comprehensive warranties, and even parts research capabilities. Such value-added services are increasingly convincing heavy-duty users, parts resellers, and service shops to source replacement parts from aftermarket suppliers.
CONSISTENT QUALITY, COMPETITIVE PRICING
Quality Diesel Service (Amelia, Louisiana) was one of the nation’s first independent diesel shops to offer 24/7 parts and service for Caterpillar engines to the oilfield industry. Over the last 30 years, Quality Diesel Service has also established itself as a leading remanufacturer of Caterpillar engines and marine gear.
“We know time is money in the oil industry, so we stock one of the largest inventories of Cat application replacement parts and remanufactured engines in our market,” says Vincent Bourgeois, parts manager.
Since 1987, Quality Diesel Service has provided its Cat customers with parts from IPD, a branded aftermarket supplier of parts that were equivalent and interchangeable with OEM.
Headquartered in Torrance, California, IPD manufactures and distributes a broad range of replacement parts for Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Volvo, and Waukesha engines. Products include such popular items as pistons, cylinder liners, valvetrain parts, engine bearings, and gaskets.
IPD has completely redesigned its steel piston production process, incorporating lean manufacturing concepts and new production methods that ensure consistent quality, speed production throughput, and cost savings.
Many users and service providers say that the advanced manufacturing and quality assurance capabilities of aftermarket suppliers such as IPD has made them comparable to OEMs in terms of quality while offering the advantage of highly competitive prices.
“I think an after market company like IPD has to prove themselves, so that’s why they go the extra step to make sure the product is right,” Bourgeois explains.
Since 1985, Quality Diesel Service has sourced a range of parts from this supplier, including high-mortality items such as wear parts like your pistons, liners, bearings, gasket kits, and seals. While quality and availability are essential to meeting Bourgeois’ requirements, he says that a somewhat lower price and comprehensive warranty are a “plus” influence on his choosing IPD. He also says that this supplier has made some design improvements to replacement parts such as pistons, changes that can lead to improved service life.
AFTERMARKET ENGINE PARTS
Diesel Exchange Incorporated, located in Springfield, Missouri, also uses branded aftermarket engine parts on a selected basis. Founded in 1992, the company has developed into an award-winning remanufacturer of diesel engines. For the past 6 years, those have included various Caterpillar models.
Among the users of gensets are customers in the construction, military, and oil and gas industries. For those and other Cat applications, Diesel Exchange has sourced parts such as cylinder kits, bearings, and gasket kits from IPD. According to Steve Hendrick, Diesel Exchange president, this line provides the same quality and availability of the OEM dealer, yet also saves on costs.
“We closely evaluate this supplier’s parts with those of the OEM, and they compare very well, “Hendrick says. “I think today’s technology has developed to the point where quality-conscious aftermarket suppliers can consistently produce the quality that used to be available only from the OEMs.”
Other diesel genset service providers, particularly machine shops, are more aware of the manufacturing capabilities of this manufacturer.
“We use CNC equipment in our machine shop, so we’re fully aware of the capabilities of those machines in meeting precise tolerances,” says Ted Short, owner of Wesley Machine (Winnipeg, Manitoba). “We know that IPD uses the latest technologies in manufacturing, inspection and other quality assurance procedures, which result in engine parts that consistently meet the tolerances and quality equal to that of the OEMs, in my opinion.”
In some cases, such suppliers also provide valuable technical services, such as answering questions about issues such as parts interchangeability. IPD parts information and applications data is also available via an online database, and failure analysis assistance information through technical bulletins and service videos.
This trend of branded aftermarket suppliers pushing the boundaries to ensure they have comparable product is sure to continue. ■
For More Information:
For more information about IPD, call 310.530.1900, or visit www.ipdparts.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2017
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