Price Comparison by Lauri Tauscher
Enagic SD501 for $4000 vs. Competition for $2000
By Lauri Tauscher
- National Merit Scholar
- BSME Oregon State University 1984, summa cum laude (Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering, with highest honors)
- Manufacturing Engineer for Tektronix 1984 – 1989
Responsible for (among other
things) Cost/Benefit analysis of large capital equipment purchases
(~$500,000). Worked with electroplating technology to make circuit
- Regional Manager, Siegmund 1989 – 1991
- Lab Manager/Engineer, IMMP 1991 – 1995
- Mom, heavily into nutritional therapy to recover health of son 1995 – present
Why the big price difference?
There are multiple Internet websites claiming the price difference is solely due to Enagic’s compensation plan for referral sales.
Is this the truth?
- The Enagic SD501 contains 4X the amount of titanium and platinum than any of the machines claiming to be equivalent.
- This makes the Enagic SD501 machine cost 4X more to make, but it only costs 2X as much.
- This means that the companies that are “pointing” at Enagic and saying that they are “overcharging” due to their compensation plan, they themselves have a markup 3X greater than Enagic’s!
A machine that uses a quarter of the titanium and platinum would MELT at the wattage (230 watts) used by the Enagic SD501. They are simply incapable of creating powerful, stable Kangen Water™ using the 80 watts or less that they are able to handle.
A MORE DETAILED ANAYLSIS
1) The technology involved in the electrolysis process used to ionize water is similar to technology I worked with at Tektronix electroplating circuit boards. Barry’s brother, Bret, graduated the same year from OSU with a BS in Chemical Engineering. Bret and I worked together for Tektronix’s Circuit Board Manufacturing Facility.
2) Enagic Corporation is very upfront about the percentage of the machine price that is allocated to marketing/profit – it is 65% (which makes the cost of manufacturing 35%).
3) Enagic Corporation uses 7 solid titanium plates heavily coated with platinum, 4.75″ X 7″.
The process used to “coat” the titanium plates with platinum is a plating process (I will come back to this later). The platinum is “medical grade”. This is one of the reasons why the Japanese government has licensed Enagic as a “medical device”. It is the ONLY machine of its kind that is certified as a medical device. See www.Enagic.com for Photostats of this and other documents.
4) Life Ionizer Corporation uses a “new” technology incorporating a mesh plate design so they can use a smaller plate design and purportedly achieve the same contact surface area with the water to achieve the same ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) as Enagic. (In fact, when I spoke to a Life Ionizer representative, I asked about the plate size and he laughed, saying that was one of the questions everybody asks – his answer was he did not know, but that their contact surface area is the same as Enagic – why would he immediately compare to Enagic, not another brand? I experienced this same phenomena with Jupiter, Athena, Akai, Tyent, Hydroanalytics – they ALL compare themselves to Enagic, it seems to be the benchmark).
5) First, let’s just look at the cost of the equipment, because your concern is that the cost difference between the Enagic Leveluk SD501 at $4000 and the Life Ionizer Life 7500 at $2000 is the marketing concept used by Enagic Corporation.
6) Enagic SD501 cost of manufacturing: 35% X $4000 = $1400.
With medical grade platinum in the range of $1500/ounce and titanium also an expensive metal, the bulk of the cost of the machine is in these components.
7) Life Ionizer Estimate of Manufacturing Cost:
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that they are using medical grade titanium and platinum (they would only be required by law to use food grade which is in the range of $500/ounce for the platinum – and if they used medical grade you could be sure they would tout it with a copy of their certificate as Enagic does on the website listed in paragraph 3 above). Let’s also assume that they are attempting to plate the same thickness of platinum used by Enagic.
The Life 7500 machine costs $2000. So their cost of manufacturing is 15% ($308/$2000), making their marketing percentage 85%. And then they say that the cost of the Enagic Machine is all due to the method of marketing? And they use this ploy to make you think that the higher price of Enagic is not because of the material costs? Shame on them.
- Enagic’s markup is 185% ($4,000/$1400)
- Life Ionizer’s markup is 567% ($2,000/$308)
That means that Life Ionizer’s markup is 3X Enagic’s! (567/185).
8) I remember Jordan Rubin (Garden of Life food supplements) saying that he would not sell his products through MLM because it would make them cost more. But his products cost as much as any of the equivalent products. Somebody somewhere is going to need to make money in the distribution of a good or product. I realize that Barry and I are an exception to this rule (as is Azure Standard) as we are willing to minimize our markups so that folks can get the foods they need as reasonably as possible while trying to maintain a supportable income for our farmers. But typical markups that we have seen in grocery stores and doctor’s offices as well as furniture or any other commodity is a minimum 100% markup with 200% not uncommon.
9) Life Ionizer and all of the other ionizer companies that point to Enagic’s compensation plan as the reason for the high prices of the machine, they ALL make money, and most of them, like Life Ionizer, have a much higher markup than Enagic. I did ask Life Ionzer what their markup is. The man I spoke to told me he does not know. He elaborated, though, and said that for a purchase of 1000 machines, they offer their distributors a 50% cut. Which means, when they sell a machine for $1000 to a distributor, they are still making a healthy profit
10) Let’s look at a spending limit of $2000. Enagic Corporation manufactures a Leveluk Junior Mark II that sells for $2400. This model incorporates all of the integrity of manufacturing that the Leveluk SD501 does. It costs $840 to manufacture, making it “worth” 2.75X as much as the Life 7500 (see paragraph 7 above for Life 7500 cost of mfg.), which is priced the same (the Life Ionizer website lists the Life 7500 @ ~$2400, with a special one time offer of ~$2000).
11) And what do you get for the “markup”?
From Enagic you get educated folks willing to help all of us understand the benefits of true electrolysis and ionization. and how Kangen Water™ can transform our health. These folks are dedicated because they saw specific health improvements from their own use of the equipment and they want as many folks as possible to have access to healing Kangen Water™ “The only people who sell Enagic are satisfied customers”). Paul had chronic pain from bone spurs – gone; Pamela’s husband is diabetic, suffered with Crohn’s, colitis, blood sugar 500 – now Crohn’s and colitis gone and blood sugar normal. The representatives that I have spoken to from other ionizer suppliers do not have this personal experience with the machines they are selling.
Life Ionizer and other like corporations have a staff of paid phone
operatives who know the answers to a few limited questions. They are
not out educating folks, encouraging, and offering water with no
strings attached (we honestly do not care whether folks buy machines,
we bought ours because we wanted to give the water to folks we know and
see them get better – but I am having just as much fun giving the
water to the complete strangers that have been showing up at our
door). The rep I spoke to from Life Ionizer feels great and gets up
earlier in the morning; that’s wonderful, but I want water that has the
potential to help heal friends of mine with bone cancer, rheumatoid
arthritis, asthma, serious issues.
12) We have a couple of folks in the Co-op here who have told us they bought machines similar to ours from other companies (that are less expensive) in the last couple of years. We asked them “Tell us your stories!” thinking how fun it was going to be. No stories. No specific health improvements from drinking the water. And we have seen folks get results days or a few weeks drinking water from our Enagic
13) Here’s the deal. Not only is there a LOT less platinum and titanium in machines like the Life Ionizer, but because they are not certified by an independent organization, there is no way to know if the metals are free of impurities that may be harmful. And even if they are medical grade materials like Enagic uses, the method of forming the plates is as important to the function of the machine as the material they are composed of.
I mentioned in paragraph 1 above that Bret and I worked in an electroplating facility. We plated circuit boards with copper, silver, and gold. The manufacturing process controls necessary to do this successfully took a team of about 30 talented engineers and technicians monitoring the processes 24 hours a day. To plate a flat surface, like a solid titanium plate (or a flat circuit board) is not difficult, but to do so in such a manner as to result in a uniform thickness requires careful process controls (for which Enagic is famous). The reason this is important is because the base plates are made of titanium because it is an excellent electrical conductor. However, titanium is toxic to humans if ingested, so we do not want it in the water.
Therefore, years ago when Enagic was developing this technology for use in Japanese hospitals, (they are the only water ionizer used in Japanese hospitals – when Dr. Carpenter here in the US was trying to figure out why he was not getting results with the nine different water ionizers that he bought, he flew to Japan to ask the doctors there and they told him they use only Enagic), they were careful to develop a strictly monitored process to carefully plate a heavy uniform thickness of platinum to guarantee a minimum life of 15 years before the plates may need to be refurbished (at which time Enagic will do so – the electrolysis unit is bolted together and they simply unbolt it, refurbish and return, during which time they give you a loaner machine so you are never without your water!). The platinum will ionize into the water over time, and is beneficial to your health. But eventually you will be down to titanium. If the plating thickness is not carefully controlled (and there are thin sections), the point at which this happens can occur much sooner.
Meanwhile, the folks that use a mesh technology have a much more difficult process control issue. They do not have a flat titanium plate to then plate with platinum, they have a mesh of varying thickness and topography with little interstices and funky places to try to get the titanium plated into – just like with circuit boards that had holes drilled through them with multiple layers of circuitry that had to all be electrically connected with the copper, silver, or gold plating that we were plating them with. The plating was ALWAYS thicker at the surface of the hole than it was down in the hole, and it got thinner and thinner deeper in the hole, to the point that “opens”, or a place with NO metal plated on, were a common quality issue that had to be resolved by careful process control.
Then there are the folks who simply plate or spray a thin titanium plate with a thin layer of platinum, then stamp a mesh grid out of it. Then you have exposed titanium surfaces by design (not necessarily intentionally, just as a natural result of the chosen manufacturing process).
I discussed the water ionizers with Bret (Barry’s ChemE brother) a couple of weeks ago and he concurred with my assessment that the mesh design technology might be able to reproduce an initial high ORP, but that considering the elements being used it is rife with potential health hazards. Furthermore, he pointed out, the voltage at which electrolysis takes place is high enough to put a significant load on the titanium plates, and with thin little mesh it will lead more quickly to material failure (degradation) (that’s from all those boring classes on material science – and from watching it happen at Tek).
When I spoke to Life Ionizers about why their unit is superior to Jupiter’s mesh design, I was informed that they have an innovative recirculation technology that circulates the water over the plates multiple times to achieve the high ORP. The result of this, again, will be a shorter equipment life span (remember, Enagic gets high ORP by contact with a larger solid surface area, there is MORE platinum, that is why it costs more – so by using a recirculating technology with smaller overall amount of platinum, the lifespan of the equipment WILL be shorter as the platinum is ionized into the water exposing the titanium). And unless you are using a daily lab analysis of your water to determine if there is any titanium contamination, you would never know……
14) All of the tekno-mumbo-jumbo in paragraph 13 above probably explains why in Dr. Peggy Parker’s report, ”Comparison of Ionizers”, she found that the mesh designed machines’ ORP would not hold for any length of time (while Enagic’s held for 1-2 days) and that within a few months of purchase the mesh machine’s ability to produce the high ORPs at all was drastically reduced. Most folks who are not tekno-nerds like us are not going to buy an ORP meter from a scientific supply company to monitor their ORP; they would never know.15) I realize that every company that wants to sell you something is going to tell you “Ours is the best”, “Ours is just as good, but we have developed superior technology to bring it to you less expensively”, or “Our ORP measures higher than theirs consistently”, or whatever. We bought the Enagic Machine because:
- It has a proven track record with medical professionals in this country and Japanese hospitals, as well as a number of certifications from independent organizations (paragraph 3).
- And people we knew were getting significant results (like cancer elimination) and our understanding of engineering principles in general corroborated the reality of the Enagic Machine’s superiority.
- Furthermore the Enagic “Rep” we were talking to was willing to bring his machine into OUR kitchen, use our water, check it with an ORP meter on the spot, fill all our jugs and our friends’ jugs with water.
16) I would like to retouch on the issue that ALL of the ionizer manufacturers that I looked at and talked to rarely tried to disparage the performance of the Enagic machines; they all seem to consider Enagic a benchmark when it comes to performance. Their contention is ALWAYS that Enagic is overpriced because of the compensation plan and that theirs is just as good but cheaper because the distributor makes all the profit. But they NEVER talk about the fact that regardless of the innovations they have created to attempt to duplicate Enagic’s performance, they ALL use ¼ or less titanium and platinum to build their machines, which as I detailed above makes their machines cost about $300 to manufacture, which makes their markups much higher than Enagic’s. And again, Enagic has a machine in the $2000 price range that has the medical grade components and all of the detailed high quality manufacturing process controls and performance criteria to maintain the medical equipment license that only they have.
How valuable is this feature to eliminating e-coli pathogens on our food (prevention of food poisoning)?
How valuable is 11.5 PH water that is used to remove pesticides from produce, or pathogens from meat (which you later have to detoxify, and contend with the general distortions immediately caused to our systems until we are able to detox).
b) Enagic is UL approved (this is an important safety consideration as it is an electrical device being used near water……). Enagic has documentation of this fact available on their website. If another company claims to have UL approval, or medical grade titanium, or whatever, ask them for the documentation. No documented UL approval would also mean they would not have Product Liability insurance as no insurance company will insure a product with electricity and water without UL approval. I asked Life Ionizer for documentation that their platinum is medical grade and I was told they had it in a file “somewhere”.
c) Enagic Corporation’s manufacturing facility is ISO 9000 and ISO 14000. These are independent quality control certifications that are very difficult to achieve and insure the highest integrity in manufacturing technology and equipment quality.