In April 2022, thousands of counterfeit NSK bearing replicas, 98% of which were industrial types, were removed from the market by authorities in Johannesburg, South Africa. The estimated value is around €300,000. Criminal and civil proceedings are underway against the perpetrators who will soon be heard in court.
Counterfeit NSK bearings seized
Due to its reputation for quality in the marketplace, based on over a century of engineering excellence, NSK has become a target for counterfeiters. However, NSK's Aftermarket Department continues to protect the company's brand image, working closely with local authorities around the world. Fake bearings not only "fool" end users into thinking they are buying quality products at a lower cost; these bearings carry the risk of premature and potentially dangerous failure.
NSK's products, which are known in the global market as quality products, have become targets for counterfeiters. However, the Aftermarket Department is keeping a close eye on the situation and is working closely with authorities around the world to remove copied products from the market as quickly as possible, as they present a risk of premature failure and are potentially dangerous.
Sadly, as a result of the global economic downturn, some users are driven to always look for the right "deal", but this often comes at a much higher price. Poor quality counterfeit bearings fail long before their expected life, sometimes catastrophically, not to mention the safety of expensive capital equipment and people.
The Japanese company warns that these bearings carry "a risk of premature and potentially dangerous failure." It also warns that "counterfeit bearings fail well before their expected life, sometimes catastrophically, compromising the safety of expensive capital equipment and people." And "it is not uncommon to find a longevity (between the genuine part and the counterfeit) that is up to 20 times less," warns the brand, founded in 1916 in Tokyo.
"Some subcontractors may inadvertently purchase and install counterfeit bearings"
The risk can potentially come when companies use subcontractors to repair equipment, such as electric motors, pumps, gearboxes and fans. "Subcontractors may inadvertently purchase and install counterfeit bearings during maintenance or overhaul," NSK reminds.
To combat these dangers of industrial counterfeit bearings, we suggest that you always buy from NSK's authorized distributors.
How to fight against this counterfeiting ?
NSK has launched the NSK Verify mobile app, primarily dedicated to machine tool precision bearings, to support computerized plant operations and management. The free app simplifies the bearing selection process and improves usage history and product traceability. NSK Verify also provides customers with a means of protection against counterfeit products through various features that verify product authenticity.
The app was completed in March 2020 to support NSK general bearings, and is being enhanced to also include NSK "giant" and "extra giant" bearings by the end of August 2020. Users of a previous version of the NSK Verify app will be notified automatically when the latest version is released.
1. Get access to key bearing data online
Have access to the inspection report data for each individual bearing without opening the box. Data typically includes a unique identification number, measurement data for dimensions and running accuracy, etc. Data can be exported in CSV and PDF formats, allowing plants to improve product traceability and implement automated IT-based plant management.
2. Evaluate the authenticity of the product
The application checks 2D barcodes against the NSK database and provides information that can help determine if a product is authentic. The number of accesses from each unique 2D barcode is tracked and displayed, allowing customers to deduce the authenticity of the product
3. Faster and easier ordering
Scan an NSK 2D barcode to display the bearing number for quick and easy ordering from local distributors and sales offices.
4. NSK Sales Office and Distributor Locator
Find NSK products near to you.
5. Other services
Access to online tools on NSK's website. Find product information, product catalogs, Bearing Doctor, technical calculators and more.