Counterfeit hits UK fastener firm

British fastener manufacturer, bigHead, is the latest victim of counterfeit products. Two examples were recently found in an automotive application and a construction application.

On inspection, the copied part was visibly poorer quality having 'punch exit burring' to the many head perforations and reduced weld projection form and height. These are both critical features of the product design.

The company said: "These resulted in poorer 'flow' of the composite materials around the perforated head, but not so poor that the product would fail immediately. However, it is not always possible to tell by looking at a weld that it is inferior, but you can tell once put under load because it breaks."

In another recent example in the construction sector a number of cheap 'knock-off' bigHead copies surfaced at the final purchasing phase, long after the original bigHead had been tested and approved. While other companies seem capable of copying the bigHead design, the purchasing function was clearly entering into significant risk and potentially sky high costs in order to secure the best price.

BigHead is warning industry of the dangers of using such products which are generally a false economy. Apart from the high costs of reclamations and repairs, the disruption to the production process and the customer inconvenience is the costly damage done to reputation.

Justin Cunningham

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