Challenging economic times have opened the door for unscrupulous individuals and businesses to seduce unsuspecting customers who are trying to cut costs at their plants and factories. These individuals and businesses provide counterfeit products, inclusive of bearings, seals etc. The bait is low prices.
In response to an increase in the number of complaints from the market about plant equipment failures with costly unscheduled downtime, United Bearings & Equipment Agencies Ltd hosted a free workshop on February 13 at the Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, Claxton Bay. The event was attended by over 100 representatives from various industries and manufacturers, and addressed the issue of counterfeit bearings.
The presenter, US-based counterfeit specialist Clayton Tharp, said counterfeiting had grown globally to a $5 billion industry, and one that was now established in TT and the Caribbean. The counterfeits are difficult to detect, as the unscrupulous illegal counterfeiters are getting closer and closer in copying the visual aspects, workings and packaging of products. To prove his point, he displayed counterfeit and genuine products on a table, and not one of the experienced engineers, plant managers or maintenance personnel could correctly tell the counterfeit from the genuine.
Tharp affirmed what will never be copied is the quality, precision engineering and rigorous testing that the genuine products are subjected to, because these measures would automatically increase the price of the counterfeit products. He told those present seductive prices are a danger to their plants, equipment and to the very life of their staff. Counterfeit bearings, he said, are never held to any standards, and lack of quality control can seriously compromise plants, factories and the lives of all employees.
He said the counterfeiters show the buyer the genuine product, but after a purchase is made, they deliver the counterfeit. The bottom line, he advised, is to know your supplier. A supplier’s certificate of authenticity, which says a supplier is an authorised distributor, he warned, can be worthless, as that too can be counterfeit.
United Bearings and Equipment Agencies Ltd is the authorised distributor for SKF, NSK and KOYO. Managing director Ryan Garcia strongly advised that all end users download and use the free authenticate app for SKF products or to contact their branches for additional information.