Release time : 2015-06-13 09:47:56
Russia's Uralvagonzavod (UVZ), the railcar manufacturing subsidiary of state-run Russian Railways, announced it is threatening to sue SKF AB (Sweden) for failing to supply enough complete axlebox bearings to meet a contracted delivery schedule for its rolling stock.
UVZ said final production and delivery of an order for more than 1,500 gondola cars is on hold because complete bearings have not been available. SKF did send a shipment of more then 2,000 bearings, but they were apparently rejected; UVZ gave several different reasons.
Railcars are manufactured in three main components: the structure itself, and two trucks, which carry the wheel, suspension, and brake assemblies. Rolling the trucks under a finished railcar is generally one of the very final assembly steps before delivery.
SKF plans to begin Russian manufacturing its TBU rail bearings from a new $117 million production facility in Tver sometime in 2010. Until then, however, rail bearings are being supplied by the company's other factories. Reportedly, the rejected bearings were produced by SKF's rail bearing plant in Nankou, China.
Widespread and systemic upgrades to Russia's rail system includes upgrading the railcars themselves. To that end, new specifications require that they carry nearly twice the load of the previous generation. With that doubled axle load, new roller bearing specifications and quality requirements were also put in place. One result was that no Russian rail bearing manufacturer was were able to meet the new standards, and so SKF was chosen.
Still, the key supplier of standard rail bearings in Russia continues to be European Bearing Corporation (EBC; 5251R9N7), receiving a 5-year contract in 2005 covering 80% of Russia's new rolling stock. When that contract expires, SKF is widely expected to step in and fill the gap. And because Russia's corporate and manufacturing climate remains highly politicized, many analysts believe the timing of UVZ's complaint indicates it is simply posturing against SKF in an effort to raise EBC's profile.