This blog was formed primarily to expose what this author believes to be a false story that two of the worlds largest bearing manufacturers conspired to release as a news story in order to use it in marketing campaigns. Since that first project ended with neither company willing to release any information that could authenticate their story, we moved on to looking at all bearing counterfeiting and how it is reported.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SKF Accuses Motion Industries of Selling Counterfeits

The major bearing manufacturers have put a great deal of effort into promoting the idea that bearing counterfeiting is widespread. Many of the stories are far-fetched, to say the least. The point of these stories has been consistent: buy only from authorized distributors or risk getting counterfeit.

Despite the fact that SKF has repeatedly claimed that the only way to be sure of getting genuine SKF bearings is to buy only from SKF directly or from its authorized distributors, it has now demonstrated that this will not ensure that the products you receive will be genuine.

"On or about October 16, 2008, Motion Industries, Inc. located in Saginaw, Michigan (“Motion”) notified SKF’s territory manager covering Michigan, Donald N. Woodside (“Woodside”), that Motion’s customer, BP Processing (“BP”) was unable to install two bearings identified as SKF Bearings bearing SKF part number “29460-EJ” (“29460 Bearings”). Motion had sold a total of six 29460 Bearings to BP for use in twin screw extruder/mixers for the metal processing industry."

SKF subsequently examined these bearings and has claimed they they are counterfeit.

SKF USA has accused Motion Industries of selling counterfeit SKF 29460 bearings to BP Processing. This, however is (apparently) not a news story. You probably won't be reading about it on eBearing News or Bearingnet News. Nor is SKF initiating a lawsuit against Motion. It seems that the majority of industry publications are nothing more than hacks for the major manufacturers marketing campaigns. It is "news" when SKF and Schaeffler destroy 40 tons of their own bearings that they purchased from their accused "counterfeiter", but it is not news when SKF alleges one of its own authorized distributors sold counterfeit bearings. It seems obvious to me that the so-called jounalists in this industry are in the pockets of the large corporations.

While I don't believe that bearing counterfeiting is as common as the major manufacturers would like you to believe, if it were, I would suggest that the best way to avoid getting counterfeit bearings is, obviously, to avoid buying the brands that are most likely to be counterfeited, such as SKF and FAG.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Schweinfurt Hoax-The Real Story

Since the joint news conference at Schaeffler’s FAG facility in Schweinfurt, Germany and the resulting brochure Product Piracy-Made in Germany, much has come to light. The story, which told of 40 tons of counterfeit bearings being found in the warehouse of one rolling bearing dealer located somewhere in Franconia, spread throughout industry publications like wildfire. Every story carried with it the warning that the only way to be certain that one does not get counterfeit bearings is to buy only from “authorized” sources.

It is now apparent that the story is not as its proponents have portrayed it. The bearings involved in this story were not counterfeit at all. The dealer in this story was never charged criminally and never even sued civilly. In fact, the dealer was paid for the 40 tons of his bearings, which amounted to less than 20% of his inventory in return for his silence.

Although the original story failed to name the dealer, several sources have told this writer that the company, which was raided, was Batucom in Erlangen. Schaeffler attorney Ingrid Bichelmeir-Boehn has refused to either confirm or deny this.

In 2003 Batucom bought the entire Inventory of Hans Lentz Kugellager in Cologne. Hans Lentz was a surplus and gray market dealer with a good reputation and the expertise to modify bearings to meet the demands of his customers. Evidence of this is the fact that he remained in business for 50 years. At 73 years of age he decided it was time to retire. He sold his inventory to Batucom. Batucom was able to operate profitably and had many satisfied customers until one morning approximately 50 police officers showed up at its business. Finding no evidence of counterfeit bearings, Schaeffler, because the Press was also present, came up with a way to continue their charade. They bought the silence of the owner of Batucom, together with an agreement that he would go out of business. (400,000 euros will buy a lot of silence). Batucom had no counterfeit bearings at all. Batucom was repackaging bearings. At most, and this has never been proven in court, there may have been some counterfeit boxes together with used genuine boxes and other packaging materials.

SKF has claimed in, news releases in US industrial publications and in its own magazines, that this was a "joint investigation". Their exact role in this "news story" is difficult to determine, but at some point SKF decided it would be advisable to join Schaeffler in this deception and the idea of calling a news conference was born. With media present, employees of Schaeffler proceeded to destroy 40 tons of bearings that had been manufactured by themselves and SKF and purchased from the very person they were accusing of being a counterfeiter.

When questioned, the purveyors of this story have been extremely tight-lipped, unwilling to release any information that would allow their story to be verified.

The above story is my understanding of what actually occurred from the witnesses that I have interviewed. I hope to hear from anyone who could shed more light on this.

Original story here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Schaeffler Attorney Continues to Stall

I sent the following email to Schaeffler attorney Ingrid Bichelmeir-Boehn:

Subject: Schaeffler/SKF story
From: stevemcguire@
Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2009 3:33 pm
To: "Ingrid Bichelmeir-Boehn"

Dear Ingrid

I would appreciate it if you answer some questions regarding the Schaeffler/SKF story and Batucom:

1) Prior to 2003 when Batucom purchased the complete inventory of Hans Lentz Kugellager in Cologne, did the Schaeffler Group or any of its companies sell bearings to them (Hans Lentz)?

2) Is it true that Schaeffler paid Batucom for the 40 tons of allegedly counterfeit bearings?

3) I have been unable to find any record of a civil or criminal trial involving Batucom or Schaeffler in the court records in Nurnberg during the period your brochure would indicate these should have taken place. Can you explain this?

You asked for my patience when I asked you questions to which you should already know the answers, being Schaeffler's counterfeit expert. Why must you be so evasive? Don't you know that the way you are answering makes you appear guilty? I would simply like the truth.


Steve McGuire

I received her reply promptly. Unfortunately it answered nothing:

Subject: AW: Schaeffler/SKF story

From: "Bichelmeir-Boehn, Ingrid ST/HZA-GK" bicheigr@
Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2009 11:54 pm
To: stevemcguire@

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your email. There is nothing we would like to hide. Nevertheless I would like to ask you for some more patience because I need some further information.
Best regards

Ingrid Bichelmeir-Böhn

Schaeffler KG
Industriestraße 1-3
91074 Herzogenaurach

There is nothing they would like to hide? Then why not just answer the questions? I know why. I think everyone, including Ingrid, knows why.