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OEM Update

Industrial counterfeiting – the biggest threat

June 21, 2011 12:55 pm

“In the last two decades, counterfeiting in general has grown by 10,000% globally. While there has been much reporting about consumers being taken advantage of by counterfeits in music, film, home electronics and designer clothing; a far greater risk lies in industrial counterfeiting of items such as tyres, seals and bearings”, emphasised Ajay Das, MD at Timken India
 
Please discuss on the current performance of bearings industry in India and your initiatives.
As India builds its infrastructure, the bearings industry will witness a huge demand surge, especially in large size bearings segment. Also, as consumers get more demanding and product liability and safety issues get more stringent, there is a need for a qualitative leap in the performance of the bearings. Meeting these two requirements in a competitive fashion is the key challenge for the bearings industry.
 
The increasing trend of designing and manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment in India has resulted in customers asking for design and application engineering knowledge and assistance. In many applications, bearings are the limiting factor in increasing the power density of the equipment and also one of the first components to get damaged. Hence working with customers, to help them make optimum design choices is an important customer expectation now.
 
The slowdown in the economy and demand apart, the industry has had to face increased cost of production due to the rise in price of inputs especially steel. On a similar thread the industry has had to face cost-competitiveness due to higher import duties on raw materials (steel tubes, steel bars, grinding wheels, etc.).
 
Finally, the customers are asking for more competitiveness and responsiveness from bearing industry, which would require companies to regionalise production bases closer to customers.
 
Bearings demand is a derived demand and is a function of what local industry needs for the equipment manufactured in India. With increasing manufacturing of heavy equipment to support infrastructure build, energy and construction equipment, the large bore bearings technology for critical application is coming to India. Timken manufactures bearings for metro rail coaches and high speed coaches at its factory in Jamshedpur which is otherwise imported and is localising a lot of large size bearings for critical locomotive and off highway application at its factory in Chennai.
 
Traditionally while most of the bearings company focus on how to make acceptable performance bearings at a competitive cost, Timken has taken a different approach. At our technology centres, Timken has invested heavily in to analysing and understanding the interaction between bearings and its supporting and surrounding components to help customers develop a better overall power train system versus what is available today. That allows us to optimise the system for better overall performance at optimum cost and this sets us apart from competition.
 
Very often, in designing compact and efficient power trains, bearings become a limiting factor from capacity and life expectancy point of view. Innovation is the key to push the boundaries on bearings and power train system designs so that the world can witness higher performance equipment at lower costs.
 
What is the total market size of bearings industry in India? And what is your market share?
The current size of the bearings market inclusive of exports would be approximately US$ 1.2 bn. With the rapid industrialisation India is witnessing, the bearings industry has more than doubled over the last five years and has registered annual gains well above both the regional and global averages. With increased infrastructure and industrialization spends, this trend should continue into the next five years as well. India is among the fastest growth markets for bearings.  
 
The organized segment should account for approximately USD 900 mn. Close to 40 per cent of the total demand is met through imports with the balance being met by indigenous products.
 
Timken provides friction management solutions for many industries. Which are the major target sectors for Timken’s business?
Timken is a global leader in friction management technologies and provides one of the most complete offerings of anti‑friction bearings in the industry. We provide friction management and power transmission solutions for many major market segments including aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer, defence, energy, industrial equipment, health, heavy industry, machine tool, positioning control, power generation and rail. The industrial bearings market (off-highway, railways, construction, metals, power generation, wind, cement, gear drive, aggregate and others) which contributes significantly to the anti-friction bearing market is valued at approximately US$ 700 million. Timken market share in this segment would roughly be around 9-10 per cent. Timken enjoys a 20 per cent market share in the heavy trucks segment which is totally valued at US$ 40 million.
 
Process industries
Our products and services support a wide range of heavy equipment, large infrastructure development and energy applications. From rolling mills to wind mills and from offshore oil rigs to dockside cranes, the reliability and durability of our products contribute to superb performance and long service life.
 
Mobile industries
We provide a complete line of bearing types engineered specifically for the demands of tractors, combines and other farm equipment. Timken bearings deliver greater load-carrying capacity, all-season reliability and extended life in these rugged applications.
 
Steel
We offer more than 450 grades of carbon and alloy steels and can custom melt steel to customers’ specifications. We work with our customers to develop new steels that include the precise metallurgical and physical properties needed. We also offer value‑added precision steel components that range from simple cut rings to complex, highly engineered, ready-to-finish products. Our customers in automotive, energy, industrial, bearing manufacture and steel service centre sectors turn to us for applications requiring reliability and durability. Crankshafts, gears for wind energy turbines, hydraulic equipment, bearing components and drilling equipment are a few of the many rugged applications for Timken steel and steel products.
 

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