Sat, 25 Jun 2022
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Warning over fake bearings

THE Hawks recently seized counterfeit bearings valued at over R5M from a Johannesburg warehouse. Porous borders and weak enforcement make South Africa fair game for counterfeiters, and copycat goods are flooding the market, strangling businesses and compromising consumers’ health and safety.

The discovery of fake NSK bearings at the warehouse has prompted BMG to reassure its customers that all NSK products procured from BMG are genuine components.

“We are concerned about the proliferation of counterfeit merchandise and the dangers associated with using inferior goods,” said Carlo Beukes, Business Unit Manager, Bearings division, BMG.

BMG is a preferred and authorised distributor for NSK and has had a long-standing relationship with the company since 1976.

“We have secured the exclusive supply, service and distribution agreements with some of the world’s most respected manufacturers and our commitment to suppliers and customers is to respect the integrity of their brand,” said Beukes.

BMG is a member of the World Bearings Association (WBA) and in conjunction with bearings manufacturers, a useful application has been developed, that enables identification of a counterfeit product by scanning QR codes on packaging.

BMG encourages consumers to take special care when sourcing products from non-authorised suppliers and to consider these key aspects before buying bearings:

  • If the price is much lower than what you can obtain from an official source, this should be a warning about where the product comes from. Is it an original product, has it been refurbished, or is it faulty or outdated stock?
  • Does the packaging have the correct identification markings in terms of the logo, branding, stickers and barcoding? If a seal over the box has been tampered with, this is cause for concern. The authenticity of the product can be verified by the manufacturer or official distributor and by using the QR code application.
  • When the product is inspected, does it have the correct part number etched? Is the part number an official manufacturer’s part number? This can be verified by the manufacturer.
  • How professional is the machining of the product? The quality of the cage material, grinding marks and finishing are good indicators of whether this bearing is from a legitimate source of not.

The problems associated with counterfeit bearings include poor manufacturing design and quality standards, which means reduced service life of the component, increased downtime of machines, compromised productivity and greater component and maintenance costs.

“Although the cost of a sub-standard bearing is lower than the procurement of quality branded bearings, the costs incurred when this bearing fails are substantial. In the event of bearing failure, it is most often not simply the case of replacing the failed part,” notes Beukes.

“Firstly, the operator has to consider lost production time while equipment is not functional and secondly, the failed bearing tends to cause serious damage to machinery. For example, a counterfeit bearing installed in an electric motor will not only result in the loss of the part, but will also damage the motor itself as various components, like coils, seals and the shaft, are often damaged and need to be replaced.” Beukes said.

The BMG team encourages consumers to take special care when sourcing products from non-authorised suppliers. If you suspect that you may have purchased or distributed counterfeits, contact the World Bearing Association (WBA) at:

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