Where Are Your Bearings Coming From?

Where Are Your Bearings Coming From?

When you pay for SKF quality, you should get SKF quality.

If you get your SKF bearings or other products through unauthorized distributors, you risk getting far less. Illegal bearing manufacturers deploy devious techniques to fool end-users and OEMs. Some of these include:

  • New low-quality bearings are re-labeled with false brand markings and put into imitation packaging that appears virtually identical to the real thing.
  • Bearings are remanufactured, then sold with no indication that they have been remanufactured.
  • Very old bearings are cleaned, polished and supplied without notice to the buyer of how old they are.

Image courtesy of SKFBecause of today’s sophisticated graphics technologies, unscrupulous manufacturers worldwide are also producing very good copies of SKF product boxes, increasing the odds that their counterfeit bearings will slip into legitimate industrial distribution channels.

In the past, counterfeit manufacturing was most prevalent in emerging markets. But today, the practice is also occurring in places where such activity was once quite rare. The truth is, counterfeit bearings are appearing virtually everywhere along the global supply chain.

And they are not limited by size or type. Despite the perception that smaller, easier-to-copy bearings for automotive or consumer product applications dominate, large-size bearing counterfeits are increasingly common in the industrial aftermarket.

Instead of getting a premium quality product, you end up purchasing a poor quality product for a price much higher than it is worth.

You may not be able to tell which is the real SKF bearing…but your machine will!

Some counterfeit bearings look so much like the real thing that only a trained technician can tell them apart. However, the poor quality of counterfeit bearings – and the risks they pose to equipment – can sometimes be revealed after just hours of use.

Counterfeit bearings can degrade and fail quickly, even catastrophically, bringing a plant’s production line – and profits – to a halt. The results could include expensive damage to capital equipment, or injury to machine operators and other plant personnel.

How much trouble can a counterfeit product cause?

Image courtesy of SKFSteel mill discovers 1,000 counterfeits

On suspicion that a non-authorized dealer had supplied them with a large quantity of counterfeit SKF bearings, mill management asked SKF to conduct an inspection. The mill reported that, after two to three hours of operation, the replacement bearings were performing so poorly, the mill’s maintenance team was forced to shut down the machinery, dismount the bearings, and re-mount the older bearings.

After inspecting more than 1,000 suspect bearings, SKF technicians concluded that they were in fact counterfeit, thereby helping the mill keep a costly mistake from becoming even more expensive.

Image courtesy of SKFUnplanned shut-down at petrochemical plant

For one unfortunate petrochemical processor, it took an emergency shutdown to reveal that it was being supplied with counterfeit SKF bearings.

Following just two days of operation, one of these bearings failed in a crucial application, forcing the costly, unplanned shutdown. After a complete analysis, SKF confirmed that the bearings were counterfeit. In cooperation with an SKF authorized distributor, the counterfeits were quickly replaced with genuine components.

Image courtesy of SKFMarine vessel finds repair almost worse than problem

After only 14 hours of continuous operation, a generator onboard a marine vessel began experiencing such extreme vibration that it had to be shut down. As the generator had just undergone repairs, the crew was immediately suspicious.

Fearing the worst, the vessel’s maintenance team removed the suspect bearing and sent it to SKF for a rigorous bearing failure analysis. SKF confirmed that the bearing was counterfeit, which nearly caused the “repairs” to be worse than the original problem.

What is SKF doing to combat counterfeiting?

  • SKF actively assists local law enforcement authorities in taking action against this illegal activity. Successful raids and closed businesses do great harm to the counterfeit trade.
  • SKF is working closely with the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA) and the World Bearing Association (WBA) to raise awareness about the many negative impacts of counterfeit products.
  • SKF is providing regular updates to its Authorized Distributor network about events involving counterfeit SKF products.
  • SKF products are equipped with a special anti-counterfeit marking. Trained SKF personnel can recognize if a product is genuine SKF or not.
  • SKF is taking an active role in legally stopping counterfeit activities. Several favorable resolutions have supported SKF’s endeavor, and more are anticipated. SKF is filing civil suits against companies selling counterfeit SKF products and SKF will prosecute offenders to the highest extent of the law.

Image courtesy of SKFSKF is involved with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection agency, as well as other law enforcement authorities around the country, to provide them with knowledge on how to detect suspicious patterns. By doing so, SKF is showing its commitment to helping prevent counterfeits from entering the marketplace.

Make sure that you are protected

Given the extremely high “look-alike” quality of today’s counterfeit products, it is very difficult for most people to tell a real SKF product from a fake. Our best recommendation for protecting yourself from fraudulent purchases?

  • Never source your SKF bearings – or any bearings from any premium manufacturer – through unauthorized distribution channels.
  • Always purchase your SKF products from an SKF Authorized Distributor!
  • A complete listing of SKF Authorized Distributors is available at the SKF Storefront at www.ptplace.com.

If you have any questions or concerns about counterfeit SKF products or want to report suspicious actions, please contact SKF. For local area contact details, please refer to www.skf.com. You can also inform SKF headquarters directly by sending an email to true@skf.com.

Image courtesy of SKF


Get in touch for help and information

Our head office address:

9400 W 55th St, Merriam, KS 66203

Call for help:

(913) 428-2858

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