Importance of Using Genuine Lincoln Electric Consumables

Today’s high precision plasma cutting systems, like the Spirit® II and Proline from Lincoln Electric, are capable of producing higher quality parts than ever before, and they can do it faster and with little or no post-production cleanup.  However, there are several factors that weigh heavily on the system’s ability to exceed expectations and provide the fastest return on investment.  The quality of inlet compressed gases, as well as cutting machine maintenance are certainly key factors, but the importance of using genuine OEM consumables is something that should not be overlooked.
Consider this scenario:  You purchased a top-of-the-line sports car because you loved the way it performed during the test drive.  Eventually, you replace the OEM recommended tires with ones that cost a little less but “looked the same.” Soon your pride and joy is not handling the same as it did when it was new and now you’re less than satisfied with its performance.  

When it comes to high precision plasma cutting, the consumables used in your plasma torch are where the rubber meets the road.  Any brand of high performance plasma, even those with the latest advances in power supply technology and torch design, can be rendered mediocre when used with inferior consumables.  The reason is simple.  Each consumable plays a significant role in shaping the plasma cutting arc, which directly affects the cut quality.  Dimensional accuracy and the concentricity of the consumables are very important for maximum life and highest cut quality.

Inside the consumable chamber of the torch is where the highest concentration of plasma energy is harnessed. Lincoln Electric genuine consumables are designed for improved concentricity and alignment, and are manufactured to the highest quality control standards using state-of-the-art CNC machines capable of holding dimensional tolerances up to .0005 in. (often called “half a thousandth”).  Any deviation from the original specifications – even as small as five thousandths of an inch – will result in diminished part cut quality and reduced consumable life. Greater dimensional deviations could even result in permanent damage to the torch.

So, why take chances with your investment?  Consider the following points:

Only the OEM has the exact design specifications and dimensional tolerances for their products.  Non-genuine consumables are produced by replicating finished OEM parts.  The replicated parts may look the same, but guesswork is used to identify critical dimensional and interfacing tolerances.  Also, there are patented and/or proprietary technologies included in the design of many OEM consumables.  Non-genuine consumables are either violating these patents or lacking the enhanced performance associated with the patented technology or design.

Genuine consumables are competitively priced.  Most genuine consumable sets cost about the same as the “imitation” versions.  However, when you factor in the frequency of change outs you can expect due to the reduced life of inferior parts, it becomes apparent that the advertised savings just aren’t realistic.  Lincoln Electric has a comprehensive research and development program for designing consumables for our plasma systems that outperform and outlast any counterfeit.

Consumables only constitute a small fraction of the total cost of operation, with labor being the largest.  Any perceived “savings” associated with using inferior consumables are likely be offset by the increased labor cost required to rework parts through grinding or drilling, and lost time as a result of more frequent consumable changes.

Technical support cannot troubleshoot cut quality problems with unknown parts in the torch.  This usually results in extended down time while genuine consumables are purchased and shipped.  Most of the time, when the genuine Lincoln Electric consumables arrive, cut quality problems miraculously disappear.

Finally, keep in mind that most manufacturers will not warranty a torch that has been damaged by non-genuine consumables.   Some will even void the entire plasma cutting system warranty if non-genuine consumables are used.  So, why take chances with your investment?  Always use genuine Lincoln Electric consumables.