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TORONTO—In July, the Timken Company received an ominous phone call from Constable Grumel Gill at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), asking about counterfeit bearings.
It turns out the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had intercepted a full pallet of bearings at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in a shipment from China.
"They sent some photographs of the cartons and the external packaging, and asked if we could determine if they were counterfeit. Unfortunately to the trained eye...the differences can be hard to spot, but the actual cartons looked wrong enough to raise suspicion," recalled Evan Boere, business development manager at Timken in Mississauga, Ont.
All Timken products come in black and orange packaging with a hologram for counterfeit protection. Boere noted the packaging on the suspect shipment was missing a hologram and the barcoding was wrong.
"Those were the first indications," he said. "Constable Gill asked if we could do some analysis—there were enough telltale signs—so we sent the bearings to our manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ont., that has a lab."
The bearings conformed to Timken's standards in terms of dimensions, surface hardness and weight, but because of the scoring marks on the cone raceway, the product was sent to Timken's metallurgical lab at its Canton, Ohio headquarters for further analysis.
Once they cut it open, it was obvious the bearings weren't genuine. They were through-hardened and the materials were wrong, Boere explained.
Tracking down the perpetrator, however, will be challenging...Read More