Release time : 2015-06-15 09:23:41
South African High Speed Bearings, seals and power transmissions supplier Zhou Enterprises has included bearings from Japanese engineering and product development corporation Nachi in its product offering.
The company is offering Japanese products from outside its usual Chinese stable to give its customers an alternative.
A number of Zhou customers have requested that it look into sourcing additional bearing products and brands, says bearing solutions manager Ian Zwartz.
He says the Chinese Dallian Metallurgical Bearing Group brand, known as DYZV, already stocked by Zhou, is well known to Zhou clients; however, its clients customers are initially sceptical of the use of DYZV bearings in products supplied to them.
With the Japanese Nachi range, Zhou hopes to meet the requirements of its direct clients and their customers.
Zhou will offer Nachi comprehensive bearing range, which includes spherical roller bearings, angular contact ball bearings and ball thrust bearings miniature.
Zhou is still awaiting some of its Nachi stock. It has already supplied a few Nachi bearings; however, the range will only be officially launched early in 2009, says Zhou general manager Gordon Rootman.
He adds that part of the delay in the range launch is the lead time involved in sourcing bearings from manufacturing facil- ities. Current lead times for any bearing, including Nachi bearings, can be as long as two years.
However, he claims that the lead time for DYZV, in China, is roughly six months on all bearings products.
However, Roo tman says that the contracting economic cycle the world is currently experiencing may improve these lead times as fewer bearings will be ordered.
Nachi manufactures precision bearings for use in its own machine tool spindles and ancillary applications, and for use in its own robotics, hydraulics and pro- cess equipment, as well as for the retail market. The grinding and heat treatment technologies that it uses to manufacture its bearings were cultivated in its tool production that began in 1928.
Nachi Japanese bearing designs are manufactured in Japan, China, Singapore, the US, Brazil and Spain.
Nachi has a large range of automotive bearings designed and supported by Nachi automotive division. Its bearings are already used extensively in South Africa automotive air conditioner market.
Zhou began supplying Chinese DYZV bearing products in 1993. Chinese businessperson Leon Zhou started the company in Jetpark as a distributor of the bearings manufactured by his family bearings factory in China.
Initially, the company focus was on wholesale to retailers; however, it has since developed into a group that also caters for end-users. Zhou has six branches in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, George and Durban.
Zhou also has distributors in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Ghana.
In 2000, Zhou introduced power transmission products such as chains, sprockets, V-belts and pulleys, and in 2005, began offering seal solutions for special applications.
The seals division has grown substantially, says Zhou seals divisional manager Fred Paulsen.
The division growth can be attributed to the importance that the company places on high-quality seals to support the bearings industry.
So much time is given to supplying the right bearing; however, not enough is given to supplying the right seal, says Paulsen.
He concludes that Zhou provides a complete bearings solution where the bearing and the appropriate seals are supplied.
Changing Customers Perceptions
The Chinese bearing market has a wide quality spectrum, ranging from poor to excellent, says Rootman.
He says this is why some of Zhou client customers are reluctant to use DYZV bearings. They fear they will be supplied with poor-quality Chinese bearings.
Further, he says that in his experience, end-users have negative views about the quality of Chinese bearings products, because their experience has been inexpensive Chinese bearings manufactured to low standards.
Reputable bearing manufacturers all use materials with similar mechanical characteristics and offer similar products. What sets one bearing apart from another is the processes used in its manufacture. That will determine the bearing clearances, tolerances and other physical properties, which will determine how well it handles the load that an application places on it.