Knockoff Bearings

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LIALLEGHENY
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Location: Bohemia, NY

Knockoff Bearings

Post by LIALLEGHENY » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:35 am

I thought I might spread a word of caution about ball/roller/needle bearings, based on my recent experience.

When I need bearings the first places I look before calling a distributor is Ebay and Amazon. I don't like to spend more than I have to if a bargain can be found, but I only buy good quality, name brand bearings like TIMKEN, INA, SKF etc. I needed some races and bearings for an old Towmotor 12000 lb forklift I am rebuilding. I looked on Amazon and found a set of TIMKEN races , they were about a third of the cost at the distributor, so I purchased them. Yesterday they arrived with some other TIMKEN bearings I bought, but they were packaged in the generic, blue, roller bearing boxes. Printed on the box was the TIMKEN and the bearing #. I immediately thought something was wrong. I opened them up and took a look at the races and they had all the markings, said TIMKEN, USA, etc... but it wasn't sitting right with me.
I sat down on Google and did a little digging, and found out that bearings manufacturers in CHINA have been copying the OEM, to the point that you almost can't tell the knockoffs without doing chemical analysis on the bearings or one of several other tests . Companies like SKF and TIMKEN are having big problems because buyers think there getting the real thing, and when the bearings fail they are complaining to the OEM manufacturers and it's giving them a bad rep.
I got out my loupe and took a closer look at the races and compared them to a set of real TIMKENS I had. The finish was poor, it looked like the final honing wasn't done . The OEM had an ever so faint crosshatch pattern, these did not, and you could see slight surface pitting. What confirmed it for me was the "R" marking on the OEM was a simple dot on the new races. ( I couldn't see this without the loupe)

I sent them back!

On a side note , one of the problems I have seen with Chinese made bearings is they are not holding the same tolerances as the OEM. Case in point....I make parts for a local printing company for their presses. They ordered 15 shafts , 12mm diameter, and gave me a sample bearings (SKF) that slides along the shafts. I was able to buy ground bar stock that fit the bearings perfectly, did my machining and delivered the parts . A few days later I get a call to come and pick the shafts up because the bearings won't slide along them. I came to find out that they decided to buy some cheaper bearings (China) and all of the bearings were a couple of tenths smaller on the ID.

Just thought I would throw this out there.

Nyle

earlgo
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by earlgo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:06 am

Apparently nothing can be trusted anymore.
When I was at a major company, the EEs had a problem with 'almost but not quite' electronic components that were supposed to work at high temps, but failed a couple dozen degrees short. Everything was the same, except for the operating specs which took some effort to prove. The original OEM parts worked, but the 'exact replacements' did not.
I empathize with for your frustration.
--earlgo
Before you do anything, you must do something else first. - Washington's principle.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by warmstrong1955 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:11 pm

Been that way for a while.... remember all the bogus bolts? Grade 8 capscrews that weren't?
I haven't heard of brand name forgeries however, at least on bearings. Mostly on stuff like tennis shoes.....
I'll have to ask my now retired bearing guru, and see what he knows about it.

Bill
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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GlennW
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by GlennW » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:39 pm

It sounds like they possibly came from "LocateBallBearings.com" as they buy surplus and often re-package them in generic boxes for resale. (They also list on eBay)

Not necessarily forgeries because the boxes are incorrect.
Glenn

Operating machines is perfectly safe......until you forget how dangerous it really is!

pete
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by pete » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:16 am

Today's large scale substandard fake parts or knock offs started as least to my knowledge many years ago in the commercial aircraft industry where it's still a huge problem. The paperwork trail and certifications now required for each and every part has to add millions in costs for the lifespan of a large commercial jet. Those bearings because of the long supply chain and multiple handling points might be tough to say one way or another there fake or not even for the manufacturer. Closer to what interests us counterfeit Mitutoyo metrology equipment is a massive problem especially on Ebay. I'd want to know and trust the seller very well before buying anything with the Mitutoyo brand on it off Ebay. Mitutoyo themselves have or had quite a bit of documentation on there website's about the various small clues on the product or packaging to tell the genuine from the fake. Even with that information I'd still be leery of any too good to believe prices. No doubt there's much more that isn't well known to be fake that's being sold as well. From my understanding business practices can vary widely from province to province in China from what some have told me who have worked or done business there. For some areas there's nothing like our western business methods and pulling a fast one or ripping off a competitor or customer carries no real stigma against it. Do it well enough in some places and you apparently can gain some prestige for doing so. Bogus carbide tool tips now seem to be another growing problem. There's been more than a few documentry type tv shows done about whole areas of some citys in China where the main business is counterfeiting high quality goods. Computers have made doing some of it much easier. The Chinese government has apparently cracked down or say they are, but as large as the problem is there has to be many turning a blind eye or gaining something from it.

LIALLEGHENY
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Location: Bohemia, NY

Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by LIALLEGHENY » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:16 am

Glenn W... What made me question whether they were knockoffs was the box. What confirmed my suspicion was the "R" that is supposed to follow the word TIMKEN on the race. With the naked eye it looks like a dot but on a real TIMKEN the "R" is visible if looked at through a loupe. On these races there was no "R".

Nyle

LIALLEGHENY
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Location: Bohemia, NY

Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by LIALLEGHENY » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:57 am

The Amazon seller is Discount Bearings. I am not the only person who has complained about this seller....a found several other people in the reviews who purchased from them , complaining about fake bearings.

Nyle

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neanderman
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by neanderman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:05 pm

How about a place here to list small distributors that deal in good quality parts?
Ed

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liveaboard
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by liveaboard » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:34 am

I used to live in India; there were huge problems there with forged goods, and soon afterwards in Europe too.
Clothes, cigarettes, alcohol, shampoos, perfumes, drugs, and mechanical parts.
The fake drugs were [are] the worst, sometimes people die. Some of the fakes are real medicine with fake manufacturers markings, and some are not active at all. They sell fake drugs at many of the pharmacies there; knowing where to shop is a matter of life and death.

I got some fake duracell batteries; the packaging was remarkable, utterly perfect.
Recently I bought a fake Mcculloch chainsaw bar from ebay. the seller had a very good rating; I'm not 100% sure it's fake so I didn't leave bad feedback. 95% sure.

Fake goods are made in many countries, all over Asia and eastern Europe. They're shipped in bulk, and distributed though parallel black market warehouses. Go to a flea market anywhere, fake stuff has taken over.

All you can do is buy from a reputable seller.
I buy bearings from simplybearings.co.uk. they sell the big brands, and also cheapo no-name ones. Probably too far away for you Americans, and for us in Europe the tax we'll have to pay after the UK leaves the EU will take the fun out.
Sometimes I bought the cheapo ones for low load applications, but I don't do that anymore.
A spun bearing is a pain in the shaft.

MrWhoopee
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Location: Northern California

Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by MrWhoopee » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:35 am

pete wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:16 am
From my understanding business practices can vary widely from province to province in China from what some have told me who have worked or done business there. For some areas there's nothing like our western business methods and pulling a fast one or ripping off a competitor or customer carries no real stigma against it. Do it well enough in some places and you apparently can gain some prestige for doing so.
I first encountered this when I started repairing computers. A customer of Indian heritage wrote me a check, which bounced. It took a couple of months of back and fourth and was finally resolved when I filed charges against his wife (the check was on her account) and faxed the documents to his home. His wife saw them and suddenly he was at my door with the cash. He then asked if I would build him a computer, as if nothing had happened. I told him I wouldn't and slammed the door. It's a cultural difference. They think we're naive. Caveat emptor.
Last edited by Harold_V on Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: remove unacceptable language

steamboat_idris
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:44 pm

Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by steamboat_idris » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:11 pm

LIALLEGHENY wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:35 am
I thought I might spread a word of caution about ball/roller/needle bearings, based on my recent experience.

When I need bearings the first places I look before calling a distributor is Ebay and Amazon. I don't like to spend more than I have to if a bargain can be found, <snip> , they were about a third of the cost at the distributor, so I purchased them. <snip>
Nyle
Found the problem, the problem is us . Don't know why it's such a big surprise that when a deal looks too good to be true it turned out that it isn't. Buy from reputable sources and this won't be an issue otherwise “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”

Cheers

Ken

Magicniner
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Re: Knockoff Bearings

Post by Magicniner » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:29 pm

Shopping for critical engineering parts simply on price? I'm sorry, I left my surprised face at home! :D

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