Quote Originally Posted by Ropetangler View Post
While not wanting to give the impression that I consider all safety regulations as B/S, a 5 year lifetime for oxy gear just provides lots of incentive to just buy the cheapest stuff you can IMO. Because if even the more expensive brand name equipment like CIG / BOC has poorly supported checking and repairing facilities as earlier comments in this thread suggest, why would you spend the extra? Quite possibly none of this stuff is made in Australia now, but when I was a young feller, my grandmother in Melbourne lived within walking distance from GIG's factory in Heidelberg, and as far as I know they made all this sort of equipment there. Overhaul kits would have been available and it probably was considered normal to install them yourself, just following the included instructions.
To cut the rant out of the above quote and answer the 3 most pressing questions above:

1) Price vs performance - I know for a fact some of the brand name stuff you mention is made in reputable factories by brands with 70+ years of gas equipment experience. In countries such as Germany, Italy, and South Africa. I have seen Chinese regulators fail- some quite spectacularly - through blown or leaking diaphraghms, ruptured bourdon tubes, and erratic delivery pressures. To a lesser degree, I've seen it in the more premium brands. For an extra $40, I know where my money goes. Some brands even have a warranty that covers the WHS 'service life' of the device, making it essentially a risk free purchase.

2) Australian manufacturing is a topic I'd love to go into great depth, but in general, as little businesses grow into big industry, and the multinational mergers swoop in, little companies like my mates in Heidelberg become part of a bigger picture, and as such their home grown brands and manufacturing falls under the economies of scale of a much bigger beast. Just the way it works I'm afraid. This consolidation drives cost down for manufacturer, and price down for user, and also makes them more economical relatively speaking.

3)Even with instructions, there are boofheads out there that I wouldn't trust to put a sandwich together correctly, let alone installing seals, washers, springs, pin valves, and oxygen-safe pipe thread sealant- on gas equipment that handles a dangerous good under pressure. A leak-down test or pre-start inspection would be lost on them to the point that it would be an extra 10min at the start of the day to get a few sweet insta pics to show the lads.
Don't. Just don't.