Most end users that receive counterfeit bearings believe they have purchased genuine
products and, lacking expertise in this technology, will find it almost impossible to tell the
difference between real and fake items at the point of delivery. As a result, users are
completely reliant on their supply chains to have the necessary quality control procedures in
place that avoid the arrival of counterfeit bearings.
Use authorised sources
Buying from an authorised NSK source is a certain way to guarantee the acquisition of
authentic bearings. When purchasing premium bearings from an Authorised Distributor or
Dealer, users can be sure that rigorous quality assurance procedures are in place, as this is
one of the many stringent control processes with which distributors must adhere to receive
To verify the use of an approved source, visit the NSK website, where a full list of
Authorised Distributors can be found. Alternatively, call NSK for confirmation of the
A further source of potential vulnerability to counterfeits is when subcontractors are used for
repairs on assets such as electric motors, pumps, gearboxes and fans. It is sometimes
easy for a subcontractor – unaware of the dangers (which include premature failure) – to
inadvertently fit fake bearings. As a result, each subcontractor should be vetted to ensure
they know the risks that surround copycat products and have the appropriate controls in
place to avoid ill-fated acquisitions.
If there are any doubts about the authenticity of bearings, a few basic checks can help
identify NSK as the original manufacturer. To begin, check the markings. An absence of
markings is an obvious sign that the bearings are fake. If markings are present, are they
similar to standard manufacturer markings, or are they located on different areas of the
bearing to normal? Both can point to illegal manufacture.
Insufficient quality standards
Poor quality is another factor that can help reveal fraudulent bearings. A close-up inspection of the rolling elements and raceways will provide key indicators, such as rough
finishes and abnormal roller appearance. NSK’s manufacturing processes have been
refined over many decades and, in combination with rigorous quality procedures, means
there is zero potential for poor-quality products.
Another giveaway when it comes to identifying fake bearings is the packaging. In the first
instance, users should check that the bearings have been packaged in appropriate shipping
material. Insufficient or low-quality packaging means the bearings have not been supplied
by NSK. Additionally, examine the pallet configuration and container load, and compare
manufacturer country with shipment country. Crate quality should also be checked.
Once the outer packaging has been removed, observe the bearing cartons. Are the cartons
similar to other packaging received previously? Always look to see if the cartons have the
proper markings and that the logo is genuine.
The easy solution
Of course, buying from a trusted source such as an Authorised NSK Distributor will negate
the need for any of these checks. Carefully chosen and meticulously monitored, NSK
Authorised Distributors are professional, knowledgeable and service-orientated. With
extensive stocks of NSK and RHP products, and unlimited access across the range, these
distributors deliver genuine bearings quickly and reliably. In addition, everything from stock
management and product and application knowledge, through to engineering advice and
support based on a total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) approach, is assured.
Every NSK Authorised Distributor is part of a tripartite relationship delivering the peace of
mind that comes from a fully committed global and local alliance. Purchasing from these
distributors will ensure users receive factory-fresh, genuine, premium NSK bearings that
provide optimum performance levels.
Users can visit www.stopfakebearings.com to discover more about counterfeit bearings.
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