At some point in the life of a bandsaw machine, parts will need to be replaced. The decision to go with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or aftermarket parts will occur. Understanding the differences between the two choices will help in that decision process.
OEM parts are made by the manufacturer of the original parts that came with the new bandsaw machine. Some brands get materials for fabricating parts from other independent companies, yet they still manufacture their own bandsaws according to the original design specifications.
Aftermarket parts are the opposite. These parts are produced by companies other than the original manufacturer but are made to fit and perform as well as the original. Aftermarket companies buy the rights to reproduce these parts and supply them to the same wholesale distributors as the OEMs. Aftermarket parts are produced with the same machinery and materials but since they were not designed in the same manner, the parts may have minor differences in appearance and feel.
OEM parts usually cost more than an aftermarket part, but that doesn’t always mean that the OEM’s quality is superior to aftermarket. Customers pay extra money for an OEM part and are confident in the quality but occasionally end up being disappointed. Some aftermarket parts are equal to and in some cases better than OEM’s. This is sometimes referred to as having paid good money to buy a name and not a quality product.
With aftermarket parts, if the cost seems too good to be true, it is a good idea to ask questions about quality, the price, the company’s philosophy, and its industry-wide reputation. There are hundreds of aftermarket manufacturers who supply parts for bandsaw machines, but only a few that have the reputation of supplying higher quality aftermarket goods and services.
There are a variety of high-quality aftermarket parts that live up to the OEM expectations and at a lower price. Aftermarket fabricators may work with the weaknesses that the OEM part has — tweaking and improving on the standard.
No matter what the choice: OEM or aftermarket parts, the bandsaw’s performance will still depend on the quality of the replacement part. Options should be weighed before the purchase of either OEM or aftermarket parts.