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With the rapid growth and mass production of automobiles and other electronic devices, the improvements in the bearing production have fostered its manufacture at the global level

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Industrial Bearings The revolution of rotation

Dec 2, 2016

The article traces down the evolution of bearing industry, globally and in India, as well as touches upon the challenges faced in the industry and innovations developed to boost the global market.

Conventionally, bearing is a non-friction component that helps to enable smooth rotational and linear movement and handle stress, which also enhances speed and efficiency of the machine. Bearings are available in the wide range of variety specially designed to handle radial loads, thrust load, or some combination of the two. The reason is that different applications require bearing that is designed to handle specific kind of load and weight. The bearings that are used worldwide are ball bearing, roller bearing, ball thrust bearing, roller thrust bearing, tapered roller bearing, magnetic bearing, giant roller bearing, cylindrical roller bearing and spherical roller bearing.

Tracing the industry

With the rapid growth and mass production of automobiles and other electronic devices, the improvements in the bearing production have fostered its manufacture at the global level. The bearing industry supplies non-friction components to industries like automobiles, aerospace, railways, construction, roadways, mechanical tools and machine, power and energy, mechatronics, instrumentation, off-highways, wind-turbines and loT.

Today’s bearing Industry ranges in 70 countries spread across five continents, serving its demand at the global market. At the movement, USA, Europe, Germany, Japan, Italy, China, and Sweden are the significant countries developing a wide range of bearings. Over the last decades, bearing designs have also faced scandals and counterfeits at the global level during 2008’s economic crisis. Asia holds 50% of world bearing market and it is constantly growing with the passing years. China’s share is 30% of the total world bearing market and it is emerging as the world’s biggest market. Other Asian market exists with the sales of around 10%, including India. Chinese bearing market is very fragmented with the important international bearing companies accounting about one-third of the total market, while another two-third market is distributed among local manufacturers.

On the other hand, development of bearing industry was evolved in India after World War II and its first manufacturing unit was founded in 1955, since then the industry has witnessed the remarkable growth. But late in 2012-13, the industry has faced a decline in production by 1.5% and production value fell down by 0.5% during the same period. Inflation was the major reason behind the decline and along with that bearing, production is directly related to automotive and other manufacturing sectors growth. In 2015, demand for bearings was estimated to be about 48% in the automotive market and 52% in the industrial sector.

At present, approximately, 2,00,000 types of bearings are available in the world, from that Indian manufacturing market requires 30,000 varieties. But India produces 650-700 bearings, which is a very contrast to the demand, so there is no option but to import from countries like Germany, Japan, USA, and China. Around 40% of the total demand is fulfilled through imports as per the survey of 2015.

Scope of the industry

The market is facing many challenges like forged and fake products, price rise in raw materials, and cost issues from Indian suppliers. But the industry is competently concentrated, with the top five global players, providing over 90% of the total turnover of the country. Bearing industry is cladding an ever-increasing shift from bearing to the whole system.

Bearing technology accepted new innovations like customisation and integration of IoT features. Bearings are necessary for almost all motion applications and this is how nearly all industries need bearings for their distinct requirements. Grand view research predicts the global bearing market to achieve nearly $85 billion by 2020.

Demand for bearing is estimated to increase by 6.1% per year at the global market by the 2020. The increase in investments in the durable goods manufacturing industry and automotive will support the growth of bearing industry. Being specific, development of new genre automobiles, which is the largest market for bearing, will reinforce the overall profits.

Increasing the requirement of the bearings has boosted the necessity of classification and branding each unit for accurate traction. It was required to be imprinted with details like batch number, unique alpha-numerical for appropriate identification and that is where chemical marking came into picture. This method was better than its alternatives; however, the marking in chemical method proved ineffective in terms of long lasting prints. These issues were put to end when laser marking technology got introduced to the bearing industry. The bearing marked with laser technology sustains the ages till the existence of the bearing itself. It gets applied on any kind of bearing, regardless of diameter and width.

Not just the quality of mark, but entire process of the bearing marking has been enormously transformed by laser. Laser machine backed by high-end software is capable of automatically marking the bearings based on inputs and orientations.

Taking a leap

SLTL has introduced customised technologies for the bearing industry that encompasses marking, cone measurement, oil slusher system and others. This technology enables solutions for bearings of any type, width and diameter. The rotary and X-Y solutions come handy, while marking the larger bearings. Dual side laser marking system, 3G marking with vision system marking on flinger shield are some of the features this laser marking system offers.

Article authored by Maulik Patel, Executive Director, Sahajanand Laser Technology Ltd

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  • The bearing industry supplies non-friction components to industries like automobiles, aerospace, railways, construction, etc

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