Bearings are an important element of any machinery. They enable smooth movement of the machinery, reduce friction between their own surface and the surface they are rolling over and handle the stress and load of it all. These functions help the machinery in running for a longer period efficiently and reduce the use of lubricants.
There are a variety of bearings in the market and each varies in usage. The different types of bearings include roller bearings, ball bearings, roller thrust bearings, ball thrust bearings, and tapered roller thrust bearings. Ball bearings are the most commonly used bearings and are appropriate where the load is small.
Currently, the global bearings market has a market value of $94 billion approximately and is estimated to grow at 4.7 percent CAGR to reach an estimated $113 billion by 2022. Out of the total costs, the energy prices constitute 20-30 percent of the share, the raw material prices account for 50-55 percent of it. With respect to the total sales in the industry, 40 percent of sales are made by original equipment manufacturers and almost 21 percent by industrial distributors.
Asia has the largest market demand in the global bearings market, which is more than 50 percent of the total demand for bearings. The reason for such high demand towards South Asia is the rapid industrialization and growth of various sectors including the automobile sector, which also consumes bearings in large quantities for further production. On the supply side, the U.S., Japan, and Germany are the leading manufacturers of bearings in the world and China is not very far behind. The focus of the manufacturing sector is on significant product improvement like less maintenance requirement, longer durability during the service
In North America, growth in sales for high-value bearings for customized heavy machinery is expected to lead to an increase in demand for the bearings industry. Major players in the industry include Schaeffler Group, NSK Global, Timken, NTN Corporation, JTEKT, and SKF. The focus of this sector is also on R&D, which calls for continuous investment.
The demand for bearings is driven by the amount of industrial activity in any economy. This is because the bearings have an extensive application in the production industry. The industrial activity is highly dependent on the GDP trends of the country. Owing to this rationale, the South Asian countries will continue driving the demand in this sector.
In the renewable energy sector, the Aisa-Pacific region is attracting the demand for bearings as they are most commonly used for the functioning of wind- turbines. The ongoing projects in the wind energy market are also witnessing a lot of investment currently. The bearings help the turbines reduce the usage of lubricants, and improve performance.
Furthermore, technological advancements in allied industries, like using lightweight components like silicone rubber to improve performance and lubrication & seal are creating more prospects for the global bearings market. Smart bearings, that can be monitored continuously to predict the faults much before they occur, are also coming up as an industry innovation. This not only reduces the replacement downtime cost but also considerably increases the utility of the product.
The high prices of the raw material for bearings pose a possible threat to the market. The rising prices of steel might impact the prices and profitability of the bearings market.
The global bearings industry lacks any kind of disruptive innovation or technological advancement because of the product type. However, technological innovations in the allied industries like the automobile industry, aerospace, and the healthcare industry will drive the demand for bearings, especially in developing countries with high GDP growth. The supply sector does not face any major threat currently.