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Brand protection – stopping counterfeits

Brand Protection - Counterfeit Bearings & boxes

Are you buying and receiving genuine NSK products?

Most end users who receive counterfeit bearings believe they have purchased genuine products. Because they are not bearing ‘experts’, telling the difference between real and counterfeit products at the point of delivery is very difficult.

End users also increase their vulnerability to counterfeits by employing subcontractors for rotating equipment repairs on assets such as electric motors, pumps, gearboxes and fans.

Unless subcontractors are vetted to ensure they understand this risk and have appropriate controls in place to prevent it, they may inadvertently purchase and install counterfeit bearings during repair or refurbishment.

Where do counterfeits originate?

Counterfeit bearings usually originate from suppliers in countries with low manufacturing costs and weak intellectual property protection.

These suppliers use lower-grade materials that are often processed by low-wage operators on ageing machines – a high-risk combination when end users are expecting a quality product.

The counterfeit bearings are packaged in boxes designed to resemble original manufacturer packaging to disguise the inauthentic products – cheating purchasers and end users.

Brand Protection - Counterfeit Bearings & Machines

What are the risks related to counterfeits?

Buying low-quality bearings results in higher maintenance and lost production costs due to premature failures. Consequently, end users must spend more to buy replacement bearings more frequently. Sometimes bearings are classified as ‘safety-critical’ components, depending on the respective application, e.g. for airplanes, trains or medical equipment. In these cases, buying from suppliers with low-priced products can lead to reliability problems and higher costs. End users should be prepared to pay higher prices for premium-quality products, technical support and after-sales service. Fake bearings result in danger, higher costs and unreliability.

What are the characteristics of counterfeit bearings?

  • Inconsistent quality
  • High risk of failure
  • High risk of machinery downtime and damage
  • Increased process and maintenance costs
  • Product and component sources are unregulated
  • No local technical backup
  • No materials development
  • No guarantee of material purity, weaker material
  • No heat treatment process development so material performance reduced
  • Performance does not meet original NSK specifications 

What is NSK doing to fight the counterfeit problem?

Protecting our customers

  • Protecting human life and property and ensuring machine reliability
  • Promoting authorised dealer networks
  • Excluding illegal players and products from the market by raising awareness

Stopping counterfeit operations

  • Eliminating counterfeit syndicates
  • Suspending counterfeit manufacturers’ operations and distribution channels
  • Conducting legal action against counterfeit manufacturing sources

Promoting the value of the NSK brand

  • Recognising real value and valuing authorised distribution
  • Conducting activities to protect brands and intellectual property
  • Providing educational programmes for dealers/colleagues

Cooperating with authorities in China

  • Working together on raids carried out by central and local government organisations and on legal prosecution
  • Preventing the outflow of counterfeits with the help of customs authorities and border control in the major trading countries

Buy only from reliable, authorised channels.

  • Chosen carefully and monitored meticulously, NSK Authorised Distributors are professional, knowledgeable and service-oriented.
  • An authorised NSK distributor never supplies fake or counterfeit NSK products.
  • echnical and engineering support is available only through authorised distributors.
  • Make sure that the distributor you plan to buy from is authorised by NSK.
  • With an extensive stock of NSK and RHP products and unlimited access to the entire range, these suppliers deliver genuine products quickly and reliably. They provide services from stock management to product and application knowledge and on to engineering advice and support based on a total-cost approach.
  • Each NSK Authorised Distributor is part of a tripartite relationship (manufacturer – distributor – end user) and delivers the peace of mind that comes as part of a fully committed global and local alliance.
  • If you have any concerns about the authenticity of the NSK bearings you receive, contact your local NSK team for verification.

    Authorised Distributor & Dealer Partnership - Find your local contact


NSK Europe Quality Policy Statement

NSK Europe Ltd is committed to a culture of continual improvement as well as the development of its quality management.

The system in operation is based upon ISO 9001 and customer specific requirements, including IATF 16949, providing a framework in which business objectives are established and reviewed, through our process of policy deployment.

All of our European sites are certified to ISO 9001:2015

All of our automotive operations are certified to IATF 16949:2016

Please follow this link and view all Worldwide Certifications.


The Risks of buying Counterfeit Bearings
and how to avoid them

Counterfeit bearings are a global issue, with all markets being highly susceptible to the risks of buying these low-quality products.

As a leading manufacturer of premium-quality bearings, NSK is focused on eradicating this issue – an issue that ultimately leads to users experiencing higher costs, higher risk and reduced machine reliability as a result of more frequent bearing failures.

In this white paper, we will look at the origins of counterfeits, the different types, the risks attached in buying them, and how to safeguard your organisation against buying and receiving counterfeit bearings. We will also explain what NSK is actively doing to stop manufacturers of these extremely dangerous products.



Counterfeiting - Don't Fake It

NSK has teamed up with the World Bearing Association (WBA) along with other bearing manufacturers to combat counterfeiting. WBA, a non-profit and unincorporated industrial association, has created an Anti-Counterfeiting Committee.

This committee is dedicated to addressing the counterfeiting of premium brand bearings and to assist enforcement agents in the eradication of counterfeits.

NSK Technical Insight - Counterfeiting - Don’t Fake It


Apps & Tools

NSK is working closely with the WBA (World Bearing Association), the JBIA (Japan Bearing Industry Association) and authorities around the world to enforce anti-counterfeiting law and eliminate fake bearings – now through app development.

NSK Verify App

NSK has launched a free app primarily for precision bearings for machine tools.
Scan 2D barcodes printed on NSK bearing boxes to assess bearing authenticity and access inspection reports online.

The app enables easier factory automation and IT-based plant management. CSV and PDF export of key information empowers customers to track usage history, improve product traceability, and even simplify bearing selection.

*Note: Only bearings with an “N” marked at the bottom right of the 2D barcode are currently supported.

NSK Verify App Documentation

WBA Bearing Authenticator

WBA Bearing Authenticator

The WBA (World Bearing Association) App helps you recognise fake bearings and protect your employees, your equipment and your reputation


NSK Europe Reach Declaration


144.5 kB

REACH Regulation 1907/2006

Notification of SVHC’s in NSK product


157 kB

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