How Counterfeit Bearings are Impacting the Global Market

Dean PayneWritten by Dean Payne

Counterfeit bearings pose a significant challenge in the global market, affecting various industries that rely on these critical components. They have become increasingly prevalent due to the growth of global trade and the rise of online marketplaces. Counterfeiters attempt to mimic the appearance and branding of reputable bearing manufacturers, making it difficult for buyers to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit products.

Manufacturers, distributors, and consumers should be concerned about counterfeit bearings as they pose significant risks and should be avoided to ensure equipment safety, reliability, and performance. It is important to purchase bearings from reputable manufacturers and distributors and to verify the authenticity of the product through appropriate channels.

Counterfeit bearings can pose several dangers, including:

  • Reduced performance and reliability: Counterfeit bearings are typically made from substandard materials and do not undergo the same rigorous quality control processes as genuine bearings. This can result in reduced performance and reliability, which can lead to premature failure and potentially catastrophic equipment damage.

  • Increased risk of failure: Counterfeit bearings may not meet the required design specifications or standards, which can result in increased risk of failure. This can be particularly dangerous in high-speed or high-load applications, where failure can result in serious injury or death.

  • Damage to equipment: Counterfeit bearings may not be able to handle the same loads or stresses as genuine bearings, which can cause damage to equipment and potentially result in costly repairs.

  • Lost productivity and downtime: If a counterfeit bearing fails, it can lead to equipment downtime and lost productivity. This can be particularly costly in industrial applications where equipment failure can disrupt production and result in lost revenue.

  • Liability and legal issues: If counterfeit bearings cause damage or injury, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller may be held liable for damages. This can result in legal issues and financial losses.

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Identifying Counterfeit Bearings

There are several ways to identify fake bearings, including:

  1. Weight: Genuine bearings are manufactured to specific tolerances and weights. If a bearing feels unusually light or heavy, it could be a fake bearing.

  2. Appearance: Fake bearings may have poorly printed logos or labels, inconsistent colors, or uneven surfaces. Genuine bearings are typically manufactured with high precision and have a consistent appearance.

  3. Performance: A fake bearing may have lower performance than a genuine bearing, such as reduced load capacity or shorter lifespan. Testing the bearing's performance may reveal any abnormalities or inconsistencies.

  4. Source: Purchasing bearings from reputable suppliers or manufacturers can help ensure that you receive genuine bearings. If you're unsure about a supplier or seller, you can check their reputation and customer reviews.

In general, it's essential to be cautious when purchasing bearings and to verify their authenticity to ensure they meet your requirements and provide reliable performance.

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Testing for Authenticity

Rockwell hardness testing is a widely used method for measuring the hardness of a material, typically metals and alloys. The Rockwell hardness scale is a standardized method of expressing the hardness of a material, which is determined by the depth of penetration of the indenter, usually a diamond cone or a hardened steel ball, and the applied load. The depth of penetration of the indenter is then measured, and the result is recorded as a Rockwell hardness number.

The Rockwell hardness scale includes several scales, each of which uses a different indenter and applied force. The most commonly used scales are the Rockwell A, B, and C scales, which are used for measuring the hardness of different types of materials.

Rockwell hardness testing is a relatively simple and quick method of measuring the hardness of a material, and it provides a quantitative measure of the material's resistance to indentation or deformation. The results of the test can be used to compare the hardness of different materials or to evaluate the suitability of a material for a specific application.

BDS uses a 24 Point Inspection process to authenticate and guarantee bearing quality to protect our customers from receiving inferior products. This process includes Metallurgical Testing, Rockwell Hardness Testing and Dimensional Verification.  All bearings are guaranteed to be authentic and are covered by a 1 Year Warranty. 

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The Market Impact

The market impact of counterfeit bearings can be significant and can affect different industries and sectors in various ways. Here are some potential sources of market impact:

  • Safety Risks: Counterfeit bearings may not meet industry standards or quality requirements, leading to potential safety risks for equipment operators and end-users. This can result in product recalls, liability claims, and reputational damage for manufacturers and suppliers.

  • Reduced Performance: Counterfeit bearings may have lower load-carrying capacity, shorter lifespan, or reduced performance compared to genuine bearings. This can lead to increased maintenance costs, downtime, and equipment failure, affecting productivity and profitability.

  • Supply Chain Disruption: Counterfeit bearings can enter the supply chain at any point, from manufacturing to distribution to end-users. This can lead to supply chain disruption, delays, and increased costs for manufacturers and suppliers.

  • Lost Revenue: Counterfeit bearings can be sold at a lower price than genuine bearings, leading to lost revenue for manufacturers and suppliers. This can also result in price erosion and reduced profit margins for legitimate manufacturers and suppliers.


  • BearingNet News. (2021). The Impact of Counterfeit Bearings
  • World Bearing Association. (2021). Counterfeit Bearings
  • SKF. (2021). The Threat of Counterfeit Bearings

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    Combatting Counterfeits

    Counterfeit bearings can be a serious problem for manufacturers and consumers alike.  Bearing manufacturers have taken various measures to combat the spread of counterfeit bearings and protect their brand reputation. Here are some examples:

      1. Developing Anti-Counterfeit Technologies: Many bearing manufacturers have developed technologies that can help identify counterfeit bearings. These may include holograms, unique markings, or microchips embedded in the bearings. By using these technologies, manufacturers can easily distinguish their genuine products from fake ones.

      2. Conducting Audits: Some manufacturers conduct regular audits of their supply chain to ensure that their products are not being counterfeited or diverted. They may work with suppliers and distributors to ensure that all parties are following best practices and taking steps to prevent counterfeit bearings from entering the market.

      3. Raising Awareness: Many manufacturers have also raised awareness about the dangers of counterfeit bearings and the importance of buying genuine products. They may work with industry associations, trade groups, or regulatory bodies to educate the public and provide resources for identifying and reporting counterfeit bearings.


        • (2019). Stopping Counterfeit Bearings in Their Tracks
        • Power Transmission Engineering. (2018). The Counterfeit Bearing Epidemic: How to Combat It
        • BearingNet News. (2017).  The Fight Against Counterfeit Bearings

    Addressing these concerns is crucial for manufacturers, distributors, and consumers.  The need to collaborate in implementing robust anti-counterfeiting measures, such as authentication technologies, supply chain traceability, and education initiatives is essential. By prioritizing genuine bearings and supporting reputable suppliers, stakeholders can mitigate the risks associated with counterfeit bearings and ensure safety, reliability, and legal compliance within their industries.

    At BDS we believe quality is essential, and upholding standards builds confidence with our customers.  Together with BMC, we are able to provide our 24 Point Inspection Process and a 1 Year Warranty. Both BDS and BMC proudly maintain ISO 9001:2015 Certification.

    For more information on how we can assist you and your customers with locating authentic, hard to find or obsolete bearings, please visit our website or contact our sales department.



Dean Payne

Dean Payne

My name is Dean Payne and I am the Sales Manager at BDS. I have been with BDS for 19 years and started when I was 18 years old in the warehouse. I have learned a little bit about bearings over the years and would consider myself a career-bearing guy at this point. I enjoy the challenges and the constant changing of nomenclature the bearing industry has to offer, you learn something new every single day.

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