When a Rolex knock-off one day disassembles on its owner’s wrist — caveat emptor, you get what you pay for. And when — say Walmart — gets stuck with a counterfeit $50 bill, it is duly noted and life goes on. But when a counterfeit bearing finds its way into the guts of a piece of heavy machinery, or a medical device, or a production line — the ramifications can be significant, if not deadly. Bearings are much like gears — they’re everywhere. Which ups the ante that there exist numerous applications possibilities for counterfeit bearings to impact performance and outcome. Consider the potential result of bearing failure in a high-balling locomotive; or a surgical tool used for brain surgery; or in a heavy-duty crane operating in the heart of Manhattan. Indeed, when speaking of counterfeit bearings, the you-get-what-you-pay-for bromide couldn’t be more accurate.
Global manufacturing by original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and purchasing of bearings from global sources for industrial applications has skyrocketed over the last two decades. The playing field for the purchasing of bearings has changed significantly over this period of time. Historically, there were only a handful of bearing manufacturers who were called upon and trusted to supply bearings for high-reliability applications.