Chicago – An Indonesian company named PT Esta Raya Mandiri (ERM)/Terminal Teknik, headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, was recently forced to publicly apologize to customers for selling counterfeit bearings, reports the World Bearing Association.
The apology, published in a major Indonesian newspaper, contains these words which clearly indicate the risks when purchasing or using counterfeit SKF products: “Counterfeit products usually fail to meet SKF strict quality standards. Counterfeits usually breakdown prematurely and leads to downtime and possibly costly damage to machinery.”
The public admission of dealing in counterfeit bearings and related products will no doubt damage ERM/Terminal Teknik’s reputation and send a signal to many dealers and customers in Indonesia not to risk doing business with them, and to be aware of the counterfeit activity in the country, says the WBA.
The apology was the end to a long investigation where SKF supported Indonesian police in confiscating 30 tons of counterfeit SKF bearings valued to between 0.5 and 1 million US dollars. The raid exposed a very large stock of bearings from SKF, FAG, Timken, INA, NSK and NTN. With the warrant only related to SKF products, the raid teams confiscated SKF products including deep groove ball bearings (DGBB), spherical roller bearings (SRB), cylindrical roller bearings (CRB) as well as mounted products and housings.
This investigation into counterfeit SKF products began in November 2010, when SKF was informed by authorized SKF Distributors that they had heard about possible counterfeit SKF branded products being sold in their region. SKF then hired a private investigator to look into the situation and he later was able to identify the supplier as PT Esta Raya Mandiri (ERM)/Terminal Teknik. He then placed orders with ERM/Terminal Teknik to get sample products for detailed technical inspections.
Around the time that the delivered products were being inspected, the WBA reports that a customer in Sumatra asked SKF to inspect two very large critical bearing housings they had purchased from a local unauthorized dealer. The housings had been bought by the Sumatra dealer from a larger industrial dealer, which turned out to be the same dealer, ERM, suspected a half-year earlier. After a thorough inspection, SKF determined that the bearing housings and the earlier purchased products were all counterfeit.
This information set off an investigation in June 2011 by the Indonesian Police and Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights. After investigating the facts presented by SKF, they decided to take action against the infringer by conducting a raid on the suspected company’s premises at three different locations.
During the raid the police also discovered copies of forged documents used in an attempt to convince customers of the products authenticity. Unfortunately, says the WBA, it is quite common that dealers in counterfeit bearings also have fake certificates of authenticity for both of the actual products as well as fake certificates that the distributor is authorized for a specific bearing brand.
The bearings and housings were later destroyed by being melted in a furnace at a local steel manufacturer.
Clayton Tharp, who is part of the SKF brand protection team in SKF headquarters, said he is very pleased that the apology is now published and stated that “customers need to be aware of the relatively large availability of counterfeit bearings.” Besides being cheated financially, he said customers could face severe damages to its machinery and costly shutdown.
The WBA says bearing customers are advised to turn to authorized distributors to safeguard authenticity of their supplies, and if in any doubt should contact their local manufacturers’s office for a list of authorized distributors.
For more information on the WBA, visit http://www.americanbearings.org/ or http://www.stopfakebearings.com