Quality of bee equipment

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Murox 

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Hi All

As a new Beek, I have recently been purchasing lots of equipment, but have been appalled at the standard and quality of the kit. I know that there is a huge range in prices but some of the aspects I have found are just basic quality standards such as (i have not purchased any "seconds"):
1. parts that do not line up
2. parts that have been damaged as part of the "packaging"
3. delivery boxes too thin, and so parts and boxes have been damaged in transport
4. parts that have clearly been dropped
5. parts "from the manufacturing process" with scratches, marks and other manufacturing defects.
6. poorly packaged products
etc etc

As someone who has worked in manufacturing for over 35 years I find the lack of respect to standards for the customer and product amazing. I hear comments like "Well it does not affect the function" systematic of the suppliers. I agree, but a scratch on a brand new car does not affect function, but no one would take that.

I find the worse parts to be poly products - is this common? Do poly part often come with dents, scratches, marks etc. Is this part of have a poly hive?

The big consolation is that the retailer have been fantastic in their response and provided exchanges and refunds as required, though one very large direct supplier was very reluctant.

Are my standards too high. Am I just going to have to accept this poor quality.

Ian
In general as long as you buy from the main suppliers in the UK and not from foreign places on the internet there should be little problem. It is true that sometimes equipment does get messed up but a call to the supplier usually solves all issues. As you are new to beekeeping it would be a good idea to go to a main supplier and look and touch and discuss before buying anything. No your standards are not too high.

An acquaintance purchased an extractor this year, regrettably via an exotic sounding internet supplier. It look the part and arrived undamaged all the way from china. Frankly it is the worst example (or is that the best example) of buying cheaply and ending up with a pile of scrap metal I have seen. Every time they use it they end up with cuts on their hands, all the edges are like little razors. The drum couldn't be any thinner, if it were it would be tin foil. The bearing for the basket is a rusty ball bearing, not even of food grade steal. The basket dimensions are decidedly unusual and the supports for the frames are too small. In short its barely fit for purpose and as it came from china there is little to be done other than learn the lesson.
 

Newbeeneil 

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Yes but your customers may not know the knack..
My problem was if you tried to really tighten them they went loose. Not a real problem for a customer once they had opened the jar but a pain to ensure they were tight enough for sale.
I was lucky as I only had a dozen or so like that. It looks like Eric had many more.
 

Into the lions den 

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An acquaintance purchased an extractor this year, regrettably via an exotic sounding internet supplier. It look the part and arrived undamaged all the way from china. Frankly it is the worst example (or is that the best example) of buying cheaply and ending up with a pile of scrap metal I have seen. Every time they use it they end up with cuts on their hands, all the edges are like little razors. The drum couldn't be any thinner, if it were it would be tin foil. The bearing for the basket is a rusty ball bearing, not even of food grade steal. The basket dimensions are decidedly unusual and the supports for the frames are too small. In short its barely fit for purpose and as it came from china there is little to be done other than learn the lesson.
Spot on. Buying from China is participating in a game. Poor outcomes are generally our own fault however. The Chinese can make just as good stuff as anyone else can BUT we try to buy on price and not on specifications. They have identified there is always a market for those tempted by the cheapest price and manufacture to hit that spot. Their top grade stuff is also available and is a match for other provenances...just has less of a price advantage. After all...stainless steel is a commodity subject to a world market....so the only way to go REALLY cheap is to reduce the spec or amount of steel involved. Then you get flimsy extractors and smokers that crush when you sneeze at them....but they are functional for a while and can be as little as 15% of the price.....perfectly ok if you are happy to call them disposable.

Bought two containers of foundation from China this year. Get the spec right and do your research against samples and you get what you want...this foundation is brilliant quality..thick and strong, the bees love it. Could have sourced at 60% of the price...but would not be happy. Chinese then get a reputation for bad quality.....when what SHOULD be getting the blame is our own sourcing....too much focus on price and loss of focus on quality and function. Makes a bargain not a bargain...but it is not the foreign makers fault. The Far East does business that way...they want to meet your price to get the order..and if you are not careful about spec you get a product that matches what you paid for.... It is all a sort of sport...so you need to play your side of the game.
 

Patrick1 

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I thought importing foundation from China was not allowed, do you get test certificates with it ? EFB,AFB chemical loads ? food safety ? When I was working closer with the USA they would not allow any wax products from them in the “EU”, thought that was the same position for any “None EU” country !

I agree with all comments on trading with the Chines, I have visited our suppliers several times when they meet you they are less inclined to misbehave 😊
 

tidymeup 

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Poly hives do come with dents and scratches from the factory at times, when they are ejected from the mould they may show scratches, some of the dents are caused after mould release.

Generally you will find the exact same dent on every component on a pallet load, our hives bought from Modern Beekeeping are now some 13 years old now and definitely have a dent or two now.

But work just as well as they did when new, we rotate kit and clean but some are also due some fresh paint.
 

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