Bearings are integral to almost every kind of equipment or machinery, right from agricultural equipment, automobile parts and household appliances to aerospace and defense equipment. Its diverse application has been a significant factor in pushing the market’s growth bandwagon further. Fuelling the technological evolution of this segment are various innovations in manufacturing process that have brought higher efficiency, lower maintenance requirements with longer service life of the products.
For in-stance, smart bearings, development of new materials and lubricants, and also the integration of sensor units has been reducing the cost of unexpected downtime. However, on the other hand, even the customers’ expectations are rapidly evolving with the ever-changing market dynamics today. Hence, coping up with the same has become a major challenge, where-in, utilization of modern manufacturing technologies has become imperative for the players in successfully meeting the expectations of their clients, across industries. Another major challenge has been the use of counterfeit products which are made of poor quality materials without adhering to the standards, thus affecting the performance of the equipment.
Perfectly understanding the situation, NBC Bearings has been on the forefront in addressing these challenges by digitizing processes rapidly to make the manufacturing process leaner and faster. NBC Bearings is the brand of National Engineering Indus-tries (NEI) which was founded back in 1946 and is headquartered in Jaipur. NEI is India’s leading bearings manufacturer and exporter, renowned for excellence in quality and delivery and is working towards data analytics to make the processes faster and leaner. The company’s focus has always been on reducing time and increasing productivity with a continued emphasis on quality.
This ensures that the company produces the best quality products to its customers in time of their needs. Furthermore, the company has been working very closely with Auto-motive OEMs to create bearings which are suitable for new-age vehicles. For this, the company’s focus has been on weight reduction, fuel efficiency and low noise bearings. Speaking of being future-ready, they are also catering to both the domestic and international electric vehicles manufacturers to provide them bespoke bearings for the upcoming vehicles.
“We are also offering value-added services, like condition monitoring, to our customers. This ensures that actionable data is captured from the bearings to help operators take proactive decisions which save resources and time and also reduce downtime. NEI will keep expanding its portfolio based on the evolving landscape and needs of the customers. Recently, we also invested in new lines to manufacture needle bearings - a requirement from our customers,” highlights RohitSaboo, President & CEO at NEI.
Setting a Benchmark in the Industry
NEI was formed by Mr. B.M. Birla with the vision of a self-reliant India by making bearings for the Indian industries. Now, the company is not only a supplier for Indian automotive, railways, and
industrial segment, but is also a leading exporter of bearings supplied to over 30 countries around the world. According to Rohit, in the coming period, NEI will complete a lot of its R&D projects and will be introducing more bearings for Electric Vehicles along with smart sensorised bearings and high-speed bearings to the market. Furthermore, NEI’s industrial range of bearings is being enhanced with more versions of spherical and cylindrical bearings.
The company has been working with Indian Railways for many decades now and has been consistently working with them to support their future expansion. NEI is also actively exploring aerospace, defence, space exploration, and other sectors to grow and has also launched services like condition-based monitoring, bearing training, etc., to add another revenue stream to its mix. NEI takes pride in its ‘Made in India’ credentials; they are the first bearing manufacturing company in India that has grown its range and reached substantially in 75 years of its progress.
Apart from these aforementioned activities, NEI has been rapidly expanding its presence in international markets. The company has customers in over 30 countries and a good relationship with OEMs across the US and Europe. All this has been possible through the commitment from its employees which are its greatest strength. “We are a Great Place to Work certified organisation three years in a row and in 2020, ranked amongst the top 100 companies to work for in India. In 2021, we are amongst top 30 companies to work for in the manufacturing segment,” states Rohit.
The company has customers in over 30 countries and a good relationship with oems across the us and Europe
Staying Abreast of the Changing Market Dynamics
Today, the market dynamics are drastically changing with the onset of industry 4.0. And to stay parallel to it, NEI has been continuously bringing innovations by upgrading and improving their infrastructure and operations. Some of the major factors that give them an edge in the market are their proactive response to customers’, improvement on time taken for developing new products, finding new material, heat treatment techniques and other process improvement so as to design and develop better products.
Speaking on disruptive technologies, Rohit states, “Factories of today are digitized and connected where machines can self-optimize and improve processes. The benefits are not limited to just manufacturing but also help all other processes, whether it is supply chain planning, finance, sales, or product development, and others. It is an integration of production, information, and communication technologies across the entire value chain.”
“Our flagship plant in Jaipur has been awarded with IGBC Platinum certification which is the benchmark of sustainably designed buildings”
“Our flagship plant in Jaipur has been awarded with IGBC Platinum certification which is the benchmark of sustainably designed buildings. We not only ensure that we are sustain-able but also continually research for our products to be more sustainable,” he adds.
The company’s biggest differentiator has been the deliverability offlexible solutions, by bringing the needed agility in design, delivery, development and dialogue. The company focuses on making long term partnerships whether it is with the customers, sup-pliers or other stakeholders. They work closely with customers to understand what they want and then provide a solution to overcome those challenges. This is the reason why OEMs trust and collaborate with them to get the bespoke products for their requirement.
They also have a world-class R&D setup in India with testing and validation facilities comparable to the best in the world; this helps in developing products specific to individual customers. In addition, they also have one of the widest product portfolios manufactured in the country. NEI has eliminated every waste and non-value adding activities so as to fuel the operational efficiency, thus offering competitive value to its customers. The company’s main concentration is on improving the quality.
“To expand the reach in the international markets and also in the segments we were earlier not very active, like aerospace and textile, we acquired Kinex, which is a European bearing manufacturer at the start of 2020. We will also continue to look for M&A opportunities to fuel our growth.” concludes Rohit.
NEI currently has five state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in India. They now manufacture over 200 million bearings offered in over 2300 sizes and supplied across five continents around the world. They have been bestowed with several awards including the Deming award and became the only bearing manufacturer in the world to get the Deming Grand Prize.