When most people think of counterfeit or fake goods they think of fake branded handbags and luxury watches. However, it is a much more widespread issue affecting most industries, including the bearing industry. Fake bearings have become a major concern in South Africa. We thought we would share what we know about this problem, how it can affect you, and how to avoid being supplied with fake bearings.
What are fake bearings?
The simplest definition of counterfeit bearings is cheap, inferior quality bearings that are marked and packaged identically to the original premium brand product. Fake FAG and other premium branded bearings are widely offered to local distributors daily via unsolicited emails from illegal suppliers, mostly from China. They’re offered at a fraction of the cost of the authentic product, and delivery lead times are extremely short. The packaging is near-perfect. However, the product inside, although identical in looks and markings to the original, is in fact an inferior product manufactured using inferior materials and processes.
How can fake bearings affect you?
Victims of counterfeits are not getting what they expect as the product is of extremely poor quality. The use of fake bearings is detrimental and costly to the bearing distributor who knowingly or unknowingly supplies them, as well as to the end user. The vast majority of end users are not aware that they have been supplied with counterfeit bearings. The results can be costly, including (among other things) premature – and in many cases catastrophic – machinery failure, down-time increases and physical danger to workers and consumers in critical applications. In addition, companies could suffer long-term reputational damage and criminal action if they are caught supplying counterfeits.
Bearings 2000 sales and technical personnel come across counterfeit FAG bearings supplied by unscrupulous and/or negligent distributors on a weekly basis. Many of these bearings are used in highly critical applications and can affect more than the companies that use them. In fact, they can be detrimental to the entire economy of the country if they end up in a critical application such as the power generation, steel or rail sectors.
How can you spot a counterfeit bearing?
Leading manufacturers, as well as the World Bearing Association (WBA), recommend that distributors and end users purchase exclusively from authorised distributors of FAG bearings, who obtain original FAG products directly from the Schaeffler Group and offer advice, after-sales service and warranties.
Bearings 2000 is an authorised distributor of the Schaeffler Group, the manufacturer of FAG and INA bearings. So, in addition to guaranteeing the supply of genuine product, we will check any suspect FAG bearings professionally for authenticity.
Please feel free to contact Bearings 2000 if you suspect that you are being supplied counterfeit FAG bearings.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true!
Remember when purchasing bearings, if the price or lead-time is significantly lower than other reputable suppliers, rather double check with Bearings 2000 or contact the Schaeffler Group directly for authentication of the goods before ordering or installing FAG bearings.
We hope you found this article insightful, for more information download our pamphlet and watch this video from the World Bearing Association