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  • Cheap copies only cost more in the long run

    November 27, 2014

    We all want to save money don’t we? Cages and roll containers have been sourced from low cost countries for many years. They are deceptively simple products. It is easy to get taken in by lure of low price tags. However, with commodity items like these, the maxim that you only get what you pay for has never been truer.

    Poor quality has direct costs: the units often rust within months, the steel and plating may not be up to specification, the wheels prone to breaking or jamming. But it goes beyond that: sub-standard cages can be dangerous especially when poor quality wheels are fitted, leading to compensation pay-outs and higher insurance. Maintenance costs are generally higher, sometimes dramatically so, and time critical distribution operations can be blighted by barely serviceable cages.

    We at K.Hartwall, strive for the best possible quality throughout our manufacturing chain, from R&D, production, delivery and after-sales service. We strongly believe our customers deserve and want products they can trust 100%.

    To help understand the potential pitfalls of buying sub-standard equipment we have put together a short check-list of the issues you need to be aware of:

    1. Welds: do they look handmade, crude, inconsistent, burnt through, sharp, brittle? All K.Hartwall products feature robotic welding which produces consistent finishes that are both strong and safe.
    2. Steel quality: Is the steel thinner or a lower grade than specified? If so it will break very easily, increasing repair and maintenance costs and jeopardizing the safety of your employees. K.Hartwall uses only fully specified materials that are stored and handled properly. If in doubt ask you supplier for full material specifications.
    3. Surface treatment is essential to ensure the equipment will maintain its strength: is the finish smooth, continuous, even, consistent? If there is rust on new products, return them immediately. To ensure the anti-corrosion finish is fit for purpose, ask for the results of salt spray tests. At its lead factory in Helsinki, K.Hartwall runs a state-of-the-art plating plant to guarantee the surface treatment on our products.
    4. Wheels are a classic place to cut corners. Cheap wheels wear out quickly, handling is poor, they are noisy, prone to fail under heavy loads or impacts and can be very dangerous. It is not uncommon for wheels to fail catastrophically causing the container to tip over onto the operator  with potentially disastrous results. K.Hartwall only fits the highest quality wheels and castor brackets to provide many years of trouble-free operation.
    5. Environmental and ethical issues: Does the manufacturer use environmentally safe manufacturing methods? Make sure by asking for certificates and conducting environmental audits. Bear in mind that many low cost countries don’t have proper health and safety standards, workers operate in unsafe conditions, they don’t have proper protective equipment and toxic chemicals are often dumped into local water courses. K.Hartwall is ISO certified and takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously. Our customers are very welcome to visit and audit all K.Hartwall manufacturing facilities.
    6. Guarantee and after-sales. We offer 12 months guarantee in normal conditions and dedicated customer service. Low cost alternatives may leave you with little more than broken promises. K.Hartwall products are backed by a global business which has the financial scale and muscle to deal with any problems should they ever arise.

    It is both an honor and a privilege to supply our customers with high-quality products that they can be used safely and reliably for many years. We may not always be the cheapest but we hope you have a better understanding of what lies behind the headline price.

    Should you have any questions or require any further information please do not hesitate to contact myself or any of the K.Hartwall team

    Jari Lainpelto
    Head of Quality