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Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

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plasmartist
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Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby plasmartist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:48 pm

When I first got into Plasma cutting I didn't know very much about the chemical composition of each of the consumables, and bought a ton of aftermarket consumables because after all, they were about one third the price. But recently I read a thread by jim colt, mentioning issues of stackability of genuine and aftermarket consumables and potential damage to the torch overheating. Well one thing that I have noticed with the aftermarkets, at least in finecut, is that the shields last nearly forever. The nozzles also seem to have decent life, but the electrodes are lasting only 7,000 inches on 10 ga at best. So my real question is if there are problems with running genuine electrodes with aftermarket nozzles and shields. The ones I am running are the ones shipped from american sellers on ebay. I have ordered complete sets of genuine consumables just in case, but I don't want to just throw these aftermarkets out since the shields and nozzles seem to work great, nor do I want to cause damage to my torch.

srp
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Re: Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby srp » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:26 pm

With my TD I run factory nozzles and Chinese electrodes. Life of the electrodes is about half of the factory ones. I had such a problem with the reliability of the factory electrodes where I was lucky to have 1 out of 4 new electrodes work without hissing and spitting giving a crappy cut. Since trying Chinese and not having any failures I can live with the half life. If I had a HT I would use only factory consumables. TD is now owned by investor groups who seek maximum profit as quickly as possible and I don't see them correcting their quality conrtol issue. HT is owned and operated by the employees - This company is going to be around for a long time focused on customer service. The 45xp is on my wish list.

plasmartist
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Re: Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby plasmartist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:42 pm

Sorry I should have mentioned I am running a hypertherm powermax 85a

srp
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Re: Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby srp » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:07 am

I had to go to the aftermarket to find a solution to a problem which TD didn't or wouldn't provide. You made a bad purchase and don't want to lose your cost. Man up and bite the bullet and charge it off to experience. Use genuine from HT and support a company that will be there to support you.

jimcolt
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Re: Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby jimcolt » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:53 am

The whole aftermarket parts issue:

- Many of the parts in Hypertherm torches are covered by patents. The patents are there to protect the intellectual property (fancy word for the millions of dollars Hypertherm spends improving the technology in terms of cut quality, consumable life, operating cost). Millions of dollars.
- Aftermarket companies often copy the patented parts and get them manufactured in regions where labor costs are 1/10th that of the American worker. (no retirement plan, no health insurance, substandard working conditions, etc.). Copying the parts that are patented is illegal, and a number of companies in Asia and other parts of the world have been stopped from doing this, some of the company owners in China are in jail, some get heavy fines. It costs Hypertherm money to enforce the patents. A lot.
- Keep in mind that tolerances, materials, assembly methods of these low cost manufacturing shops are not controlled well. Sometimes these parts work, sometimes they don't. Sometimes when they don't...the 25,000 degree plasma arc stays inside the torch and arcs through torch body components. New torch needed.
- Some of the aftermarket companies copy the packaging complete with copyright claims and patent numbers, then put the above out of tolerance parts in the packages and sell them as genuine.
- Stack up tolerances in a plasma torch are critical, as are concentricity tolerances. These can only be held when you build the parts from the original print....which the low cost manufacturing shops do not have. Premature consumable failure and potential torch damage will be the result.

So.....when you do the math to figure out Cost per Foot of cut using genuine consumables, it is absolutely amazing to see how little it costs to cut a foot of steel of almost any thickness with the air plasma cutting process. On 1/8" steel using the 45 amp shielded consumables cutting on a CNC table I generally have a consumable cost of slightly less than 1 cent per foot of cut.

When you go to the dealer and buy genuine parts....it can be expensive. But... when you figure how much steel you can cut with that expensive purchase.....you will quickly realize that is it very inexpensive to use these parts once you factor in the inches, feet, or miles of cutting you get out of them.

I have a Powermax85 on my home shop cnc table. It is 6-1/2 years old, still has the original 220817 shield and 220 953 retaining cap. I have replaced the swirl ring maybe 2 to 3 times, and have used dozens of nozzles and maybe 1/2 as many electrodes as nozzles. When you read the operators manual and set things correctly.....especially things like pierce height, pierce delay, amperage, cut height and cut speed.....these torches and consumables have the ability to cut a lot of material at a very low price. Oh yeah.....the operators manual for every Hypertherm system has many pages of detailed cut charts developed in advanced engineering labs in NH by cutting tons and tons of metal.....wonder if the aftermarket consumable companies do much of that kind of work to help their customers....

Why take the chance of torch damage to save a few pennies at the point of sale......when aftermarket parts cost more to use? Don't worry, we at Hypertherm are continuously putting our profits (that in most companies go to management or investors) into engineering and continuous improvement of our products and manufacturing processes. We will continue to fight the companies with no engineering that want to profit off our work at our customers expense. It is an ongoing battle......but the ultimate choice of what consumables to use is in the hands of the end users of the equipment. Jim Colt Hypertherm



plasmartist wrote:When I first got into Plasma cutting I didn't know very much about the chemical composition of each of the consumables, and bought a ton of aftermarket consumables because after all, they were about one third the price. But recently I read a thread by jim colt, mentioning issues of stackability of genuine and aftermarket consumables and potential damage to the torch overheating. Well one thing that I have noticed with the aftermarkets, at least in finecut, is that the shields last nearly forever. The nozzles also seem to have decent life, but the electrodes are lasting only 7,000 inches on 10 ga at best. So my real question is if there are problems with running genuine electrodes with aftermarket nozzles and shields. The ones I am running are the ones shipped from american sellers on ebay. I have ordered complete sets of genuine consumables just in case, but I don't want to just throw these aftermarkets out since the shields and nozzles seem to work great, nor do I want to cause damage to my torch.

plasmartist
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:31 pm
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Re: Mixing aftermarket and genuine consumables?

Postby plasmartist » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:02 am

Thanks for your reply Jim. It is my plan to switch over to running only genuine consumables, I have ordered a complete set of genuine consumables, so you don't need to convince me that genuine consumables are superior. My predicament is that I already own a large quantity of aftermarkets, at the least I would like to know others experience with using genuine electrodes with aftermarket nozzles and shields. Trust me, I am not intending to order aftermarket again.


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