Developing equipment requires a research and development, an R&D, process.
During this process you define the parameters for a project, the criteria it shall fulfill and work towards what the final product will look like. Depending upon the project, this development phase can involve multiple prototype stages and lengthy evaluation in the field. In the case of Personal Protective Equipment, the later stages of process involve working with a notified body towards certification in order to ensure conformity to the relevant legislation.
Not rocket science, but it certainly means an investment in terms of time, energy and money in order to ensure that this is done properly.
All the more annoying when companies choose to turn the R&D process on its head by choosing the easy route of Rip Off and Duplicate by copying existing products with minimal, fairly superficial modifications. The photo below shows pulley that bear a strong resemblence to ART’s Cocoon pulleys, but obviously have nothing to do with them – whether this is intended or not, I cannot say, but there is certainly a clear resemblance.
The fact remains that copying other manufacturer’s products is unfair, as it leaves a small, innovative group to shoulder the risk of coming up with and trying out novel concepts – and once these have proven themselves to be viable, the concepts are then copied.
Take a pulleySAVER, for example, which is superficially quite a straight-forward assembly.
However, if you look at it more closely, you will realize that it actually contains multiple elements that all individually needed to be developed:
- the Pinto pulley
- the stitching pattern on the SIRIUS prusik loop
- the elastic element in the soft eye
- the thimble on the retrieval prusik
- the stitching on the soft eye
- the resin on the stitching of the soft eye
Each of these steps requires an investment of time and energy before it can be assembled to the final product. And this does not even yet take the certification process into account… So yes, I find it annoying when people chose to simply lift other people’s ideas and profit from the work they have invested.
Personally, I would chose to steer clear of this kind of business practice and companies who partake in it as I feel it is ripping off our scene and encourages a mentality that ultimately benefits no one.
Ripping off and duplicating, like copy/ pasting, is just another form of plagiarism.