With the Festive Season just around the corner, leading supplier Bearings International (BI) is warning motorists about the unforeseen consequences of using counterfeit bearings in terms of maintenance and road safety. Downtime, consequential damage, reduced lifespan and poor performance are just some of the dangers, warns Product Manager Andrew Altree.
“Customers’ main motivation seems to be buying good quality at a reduced price. Another factor is availability, which is normally subject to lead times due to the complex processes involved in bearing manufacturing and current supply-chain constraints,” comments Altree.
However, counterfeit products are not covered by any warranty offered by the brand owner. This negatively impacts service contracts as the life expectancy will not be achieved, resulting in continuous downtime and associated costs. In addition, there are severe negative health and safety implications in all applications when installing counterfeit bearings.
“Installers and suppliers of these counterfeit products could face legal action and be held liable criminally and/or financially. Here one has to bear in mind that claims for recourse against the suppliers of counterfeits are almost futile,” points out Altree.
Authorised distributors such as BI are trained to support customers with regard to their complete bearing requirements, from technical information to determining the best bearing for a particular application, as well as being able to handle the products in the correct manner, such as storage conditions. This invariably means that bearings supplied via authorised distributors are fully supported technically and guaranteed by both the authorised distributor and brand owner.
BI works closely with brand owners with regard to authentication services and providing accurate information. If any customer suspects that they have received counterfeit products, they are requested to get in touch with the relevant brand protection team of the brand owner. Additional information in this regard can be obtained from BI itself.
The automotive industry is an important growth area for BI, highlights Business Development Leader (BDL) Keith du Preez. On-highway automotive applications include the passenger vehicle and commercial truck-trailer segments. The passenger vehicle segment itself covers various tiers, from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in Tier 1, to automotive component manufacturers in Tier 2. Plant maintenance requirements and aftermarket bearing and chain requirements will be fielded by BI’s 49-branch network.
A crucial aspect of the automotive industry is parts and accessories, which focuses specifically on imported vehicles not manufactured locally, but which carry a warranty and often use branded products such as bearings supplied by BI. In addition, the needs of the aftermarket are also catered for, from spares shops to the general public.
BI supplies automotive products such as wheel hub bearings, clutch release bearings, alternator bearings, and rear wheel bearings, focused mainly on the leading KOYO and FAG brands. KML is a subsidiary, non-OE brand offering that provides a more cost-effective solution.