Bearing Tips.com spoke with Group CEO of Technymon GBT, Bernd Fischer to talk about the year in bearings 2018 and what to expect in the new year. The need for bearings in automotive applications could be especially strong in 2019. Here is his take, lightly edited for space and clarity.
“I said before, the bearings industry is really very much, on the commercial side, related to the overall industrial output in the world. When the industrial output is growing, the bearings industry is growing, when it’s shrinking, the bearings industry’s shrinking. A good part of the bearings industry relation on the commercial side is also on automotive; it’s really quite linked to the automotive industry. Generally, the bearings industry, and also our industry within the bearings industry is growing about 2%, year over year, an average. But again, if there’s a downturn at some point there will be a downturn in the bearings industry. If it’s an upturn, it’s the other way around. That’s the dynamic going on there.
On the technology front, as I said earlier, the bearings industry is quite a stable industry. It’s not like some other technologies which are changing every day or every week. A great deal of bearing technology has been around for many years and of course, Technymon and other competitors are trying to improve here and there which is definitely happening.
Generally, this is a very stable industry. But it’s cost sensitive in many regards especially when we talk about the automotive market. The dynamic there is to really focus on the key essentials the bearing has to provide. Users do not want anything else in addition, just what the bearing has to do. For instance, if you talk about the door hinge bearing, it just has to make sure that the door on a car will close after 200,000 miles, still smoothly and nicely, that there’ll be no corrosion, and the door or the overall mechanism is functioning.
Again, in the auto industry, we have to see where automotive will go in the coming years, but currently, we are well placed with a couple of specific designs for automotive application. There are many comfort areas in a car these days, and a lot of those comfort areas require bearings. An application like seats is a great example. A seat is an extremely complicated mechanism and as a consumer, you like the chance to drive front, back, in an angle, but then also up and down, and reclining… So comfort is definitely something which is going on in the industry, especially in the automotive industry, and the more comfort that’s required, the more bearings that will be necessary.