The dangers of imported controls

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It’s becoming common for companies to import complete equipment packages including electrical controls from Asia, Europe or North America. Imported packages can be significantly cheaper than those assembled in Australia; however, there are some dangers involved, particularly with imported controls.

Here are some potential issues you should be aware of:

Imported controls often don’t comply with Australian Standards

AS3000 (known as the Wiring Rules) is the applicable Australian Standard for electrical installations and equipment. It dictates requirements including circuit breaker types and wire/cable colours that many imported control panels do not comply with. Aside from the safety aspects, the importer could be exposed to liability or court action if the non-compliances are exposed.

They’re not built for Australian conditions

Australian climatic conditions are quite different to those in Europe and most of Asia. A control panel designed for a temperate climate may not stand up to a harsh Australian summer – you could experience overheating, component burn-out and paint/finish damage.

Replacement parts may not be available

Overseas manufacturers often use brands of switchgear and other components that are not commonly available in Australia. As a result, you may be caught out in a breakdown situation without any compatible replacement parts.

Support can be difficult or non-existent

Time zones and language barriers can make it very difficult for overseas manufacturers to support their product. Couple this with electricians who are generally hesitant to service or modify a control panel that doesn’t comply with Australian standards, and you may be in a tight spot.

Despite the attractive price tag, there are some very real drawbacks in importing complete equipment packages. Often it’s safer, easier and cheaper in the long term to buy Australian-designed and Australian-made.