The international manufacturers have directed the thrust to higher precision, coupled with high productivity. Their efforts are concentrated on improving the quality of the bearings to the highest levels possible. Thus, the life of bearings would be improved, they would carry higher loads and the noise levels would be reduced to the minimum.
Though bearing sizes and nomenclature have been standardised, design modifications do take place continually in order to improve the overall performance of the product. New products as such, may not be a significant area of concentration. With the onslaught of excellent quality volume production by the Japanese manufacturers, some bearing manufacturers have moved towards bearings with special applications, including ready assemblies that carry rolling bearings integrated into them.
Newer materials such as plastics and even ceramics have been experimented with and developed for special applications. Other manufacturers have re-organised to bring in economy of large volumes, experimented and developed, such as use of plastics and even ceramics.
The pace and achievement of the above mentioned goals in bearing manufacture can directly be linked to innovations in machine tools, process technology and material properties. In machine tools, the stress is constantly on improving the precision levels and productivity.
Automation at every stage is most common.
This is done within the machine and in transfer from machine to machine into line manufacture, to achieve close control on operations and monitor the pre-process corrections.
India V/s China Bearing Industry Competitiveness
In resent years, with the rapid development of machinery industry, Chinese bearing industry is developing at a speed higher than national economy. A lot of national key engineering projects, such as delivery of west gas to the east, transmission of west electricity to the east, transference of south water to the north, Three Gorges reservoir on the Changjiang River, Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, and Shanghai World Exhibition in 2010, will need great amount of machinery as well as great amount of bearings.
This situation will provide large market space for bearing industry development. It is estimated that in a few years, bearing market will grow at a speed of over 10%.
In 2005, market capacity of Chinese bearing industry was nearly 5 billion sets.
Major demand for bearings in China in near future
According to analysis, major demand for bearing products in China in near future will be in four categories.
First category is bearings for automobile and motorcycle. These bearings have large demand and high additional value. This category includes hub bearing, separating bearing in clutch, shaft-connecting bearing in water pump, compressor bearing in air conditioner, bearing in gear box, bearing in engine, and so on.
Second category is bearings with high technology and high reliability, such as bearing in locomotive, passenger train and freight train, bearing in steel rolling mill, and bearing in engineering machinery.
Third category is sealed bearings of high precision and low noise, such as spindle bearing in machine tool, bearing in electric motor, bearing in soft and hard drive of computer, and so on.
Fourth category is bearings for agricultural machinery and agricultural vehicle.
China aims of world largest bearing producer
Since bearing industry is the industry of labor intensity and technology intensity. With labor cost increasing continuously, many foreign bearing companies are entering China. Ten largest bearing companies in the world have established factories of joint-venture or of their own investment in China. Recently, new projects and new factories are being constructed with increasing scale. Famous bearing companies, such as NSK and Timken, are supplementing investment to set up factories in China.
Comparative Advantage of machinery industry in China
Consider the Luoyangn province which is like Jaipur in India where the first bearing enterprise stated in China today has a strong foundation of machinery industry, as there are many large machinery factories in the city. China First Tractor Group, Luoyang Bearing Group, Luoyang Copper Processing Group, Zhongxin Heavy Machinery Company and Luoyang North Ek Chor Motorcycle Company are all well-known enterprises in China and in the world.
There are 500 thousand workers and 120 thousand technicians in the city. There are more than 300 scientific and technical research institutes, in which 14 are national research institutes, 6 are national technology centers and 6 are national examination centers.