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The Difference Between Brand-Name and Bargain Consumables

With nearly every purchase you make, whether for your business or as a consumer, you have choices to make. Do you pay a little more for the brand name you know? Or, do you go with the cheaper generic version and save some cash now?

You know that typically if you pay less, you don’t get comparable quality. The product wears out faster. Or, it’s more likely to break. If you need customer service, you’re not as likely to get an acceptable resolution to your problem.

How does this work with plasma consumables? Is it the same? Or, can you get away with buying bargain consumables and still get the quality experience and cut you want?
Take a look:

Sales people for bargain consumables will tell you that you get the same performance for half the cost. But, they’re not telling you their product won’t last for the same length of time. They’re hoping you won’t notice. But, you will if you decide to track consumable costs over time.

Even though you may hear cut quality across brands is quite similar, despite the price, it’s not necessarily always true. To prove this, Hypertherm conducted their own study versus two competing companies.

They did their test against the ISO:9013 standard, which defines the quality for thermally cut parts. Each cut gets a 1-5 rating. Range 1 is the best because of its minimal angle. Range 5 is the worst.

In their test, Hypertherm delivered cuts in the 3-4 range. Each cut quality made up about half of their product’s life. As the consumable moved along its life cycle, cut quality declined, as you’d expect.

Competitors, on the other hand, delivered cut quality in range 5 about 90% of the time. One competitor delivered a cut quality of 4 for about 20% of its life. However, the remaining time was spent giving the worst cut quality – 5. The other competitor only offered a cut quality of 5.

Further, Hypertherm’s product had a life more than twice as long as both competing options.

You may be somewhat skeptical of Hypertherm because it did its own test, and it won. But, you know products that cost more deliver higher quality. That’s how those companies stay in business.

So ultimately, you have to choose what you’d rather do. Consider doing your own simple test to see which consumables last the longest and give you the best cut quality. It’s just another way your CNC shop can improve and keep its edge on the competition.


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