According to Dave Bethell, CEO of the international projector lamp distributor, “With recent product shortages on some Hitachi lines, a number of distributors and agents have approached us claiming to have lamps in stock. We were suspicious as the shortages are global, and the prices we were being offered seemed too cheap. We asked for samples, and as suspected, these turned out to be fakes in Hitachi branded boxes.”
Bethel cited the problem as widespread. “Our Asian operation first encountered counterfeit lamps over a year ago, and we guessed that it would only be a matter of time before we saw them enter the EU and US markets. It is likely that other brands will be compromised over the coming months,” he warned.
Just Lamps describes the counterfeits as “high quality” because they are likely to deceive even the most experienced AV veteran. “It would take an expert to identify them from genuine lamps as the boxes, labels, and instructions have only minor flaws,” Bethel said. “The cages offer the main clues, but only if you know what to look for and you have the genuine product to compare against. Even the bulbs have been faked, despite having genuine looking markings.”
He continued, “The wider problem is that the EU distributors don't realize they have been sold fakes, and their suppliers, often in Asia, will resolutely testify the products are genuine, right down to falsified letters from the factory.”
The ultimate risk with any counterfeit industrial equipment is that they lack any quality assurance, presenting safety concerns for users, especially with the glass and mercury combined at high temperatures, voltages, and pressure that projector lamps perform under.