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Current roller production status in China bearing industry

Resource from:  CBCC Likes:968
Feb 19,2024

Bearings are core basic components. The bearing industry is a basic national strategic industry, which plays an important supporting role in the development of the national economy and national defense construction. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially since the reform and opening up, China's bearing industry has developed continuously and rapidly. Forming an independent and complete industrial system, my country has become a major bearing producer with the third largest bearing sales and output in the world. And move towards the world's bearing power. Especially during the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan" period, many companies in China's bearing industry worked hard, overcame difficulties, bucked the trend, maintained steady and rapid development of the entire industry, and laid a good foundation for building a world-wide bearing power.

According to statistics in 2022, there are more than 1,300 enterprises above designated size in the industry, with main business revenue of 223.2 billion yuan and bearing output of 21.2 billion sets. In 2022, China's total export earnings were US$7.255 billion, imported bearings used US$4.564 billion, and imported bearings were 2.721 billion sets.

China is already a major bearing producer in the world, but it is not yet a powerful bearing country in the world. Its industrial structure, R&D capabilities, technical level, product quality, efficiency and benefits all lag far behind the international advanced level. There are nearly 10,000 bearing and bearing product-related companies in China, of which mid-to-low-end products account for >80%. Chinese companies only account for 5% of the global high-end bearing market capacity.

1. Rollers are a key link in the bearing industry chain

Roller bearings are an important type of rolling bearing products. Roller bearings include cylindrical roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, and spherical roller bearings. The size range is mostly large, extra large, and heavy-duty bearings, which are mainly used in host industries such as engineering machinery, metallurgical mining, automobiles, high-speed rail, and wind power. Rollers are key parts of roller bearings, and their accuracy, performance, life and reliability have an important impact on the accuracy, performance, life and reliability of complete sets of bearings. Therefore, roller manufacturing is a key link in the bearing industry chain. Due to limitations of technical level and equipment capabilities, the bearing industry is currently unable to mass-produce grade 0 and grade I precision rollers. Whether from the perspective of independent matching of high-end bearings or from the perspective of safety and controllability of the bearing industry chain, precision rollers The manufacturing of roller bearings is not compatible with the development requirements of roller bearings, and has become a bottleneck for high-end bearings supporting major equipment.

Judging from the statistical report figures: from January to December 2022, China's national bearing import volume was 2,720,775,600 sets, and the import exchange rate: 3,686,268,600 US dollars, of which: the import quantity of cylindrical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings: 144,141,400 sets; accounting for 5.3% of the country's bearing imports; the foreign exchange used for the import of cylindrical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings: 1,219.2722 million US dollars; accounting for 33.07% of the national bearing imports; it can be seen that the foreign exchange used for imported bearings cylindrical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings is relatively high. This shows that the added value of imported roller bearings is relatively high and they are high-end precision bearings. In other words, a considerable part of China's high-end precision roller bearings still need to be imported, such as wind power spindle bearings.

Since the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan", the bearing industry has attached great importance to the R&D and manufacturing of rollers. Especially in the first and second years after the launch of the "14th Five-Year Plan", many companies have introduced and digested advanced roller grinding lines and actively provided supporting equipment for high-end main engines. Some progress has been made.

Scientific research units and colleges and universities in the bearing industry are facing enterprises, focusing on difficulties, constantly exploring the field of tapered roller crown super-finishing and equipment, and completing the National Natural Science Foundation of China project; "Tapered roller crown through-type ultra-finishing machine" Research on the "Mechanism and Law of Precision Grinding and Modification" has achieved scientific research results. The "key technology of through-type super precision grinding of tapered roller crown" won the second prize of the "China Machinery Industry Science and Technology Award" and obtained the national invention patent accordingly.

Starting from meeting the needs of high-end bearings, equipment manufacturing companies start from the research and development of equipment, set up fully automatic roller production lines, and gradually form a full-process automated operation from processing to packaging;

Leading roller production companies raise their own funds to introduce advanced production lines from abroad, insist on combining introduction and digestion, and combine the actual conditions of the company to explore ways to improve roller performance that suit their own characteristics.

2. Current status of roller production in China's bearing industry

At present, the main professional roller manufacturers in China's bearing industry include:

1. Jiangsu Lixing Steel Ball Co., Ltd. has recently introduced roller production lines from Italy and Germany. The company currently has 12 production lines. We produce φ6mm-φ80mm tapered rollers and φ20mm-φ80mm cylindrical rollers. The monthly production capacity reaches 1050 tons/month, and the annual production capacity is 12680 tons/year.

At present, all tapered rollers with diameter below 25mm have the production capacity of batches of I and II rollers. The production ratio of I and II rollers is implemented according to the customer's drawing requirements. Currently, Class I rollers account for 25%. The products currently produced by cylindrical rollers are basically wind power products, and they are basically G1A grade, accounting for 80%. The cylindrical rollers supplied to some railways are basically G1 grade, accounting for 20%. The main products produced are tapered rollers. Used in wind power, heavy trucks, rail transit, commercial vehicles, etc.

2. Zhejiang Wuzhou Xinchun Group Co., Ltd. began to produce cylindrical rollers for wind turbine pitch bearings and some tapered rollers for main shafts in 2019. Its main production equipment is domestically produced, but it has technically optimized surface profiles and heat treatment processes (newly released (3 salt bath furnace dedicated lines), the wind power main shaft bearing tapered rollers are about 60,000 grains/month, most of the products have reached or close to Class I precision, and the pitch cylindrical rollers are about 1.5 million grains/month, which basically meets the requirements of the finished bearings. Quality requirements, with the increase in the number of wind turbine bearings, are also constantly renovating and constructing lines to expand production capacity.

3. Shandong Dong'a Steel Ball Group Co., Ltd. has also started to produce cylindrical and tapered rollers since 2009. Cylindrical rollers can produce precision 0; Grade I and II rollers. Cylindrical rollers are mainly grade II or above. Tapered rollers can produce rollers with level II and level III accuracy, and individual projects can reach level I accuracy. Class III rollers account for about 60%, and the rest are Class II and Class I. The most advanced British Taylor roundness meter is now introduced and controlled according to Schaeffler’s roundness and waviness determination standards. The appearance is generally detected by intelligent automation. Equipped with AI vision technology, it achieves efficient, stable and accurate detection of roller surface defects. It has laid a good foundation for the export of supporting high-end equipment and roller parts.

4. Wafangdian Weiyuan Rolling Element Manufacturing Co., Ltd. mainly produces medium and large cylindrical, spherical and tapered rollers, which are used in rolling mills, mining metallurgy and wind power bearings, and some are exported to the European and American markets. The annual production capacity is about 10 million pieces, including cylindrical rollers. Rollers and spherical rollers account for more than 85%.

5. Ningbo Hiyate Roller Co., Ltd. currently has an annual output of 120 million cylindrical rollers and 936 million tapered rollers (of which the export ratio is about 35%). It has 4 cylindrical roller production lines and the output in 2022 is 73 million pieces; There are a total of 33 tapered roller production lines, with an output of 572 million tablets in 2022, including: 15 medium-sized tapered rollers, with an annual output of 114 million tablets, and 18 small-sized tapered rollers, with an annual output of 458 million tablets; the annual output is approximately 640 million tablets , the domestic market share ranks first in the country, and most of the cylindrical and tapered rollers currently produced meet the technical requirements of Class II rollers. The accuracy of most products is similar to the requirements of Class II rollers.

There are also professional roller manufacturers such as Xinchang Chengben, Ningbo Rongcheng Huasheng, and Luoyang Hongsheng. In addition to professional manufacturers, major bearing manufacturers such as: Wazhou, Luozhou, Renben, Tianma, Gansu Hailin Zhongke , Xiangshaft, Northwest Shaft, Daye Shaft and Luoyang Xinqianglian also produce cylindrical and tapered rollers, which can basically meet the current market demand. Of course, these bearing manufacturers also have to purchase high-quality bearings from some major rolling element manufacturers. Precision roller.

Judging from the above situation, the current production situation of cylindrical and tapered rollers in my country's bearing industry: mainly Class II and Class III rollers account for about 80%, Class I rollers account for about 5%, and Class 0 rollers account for about 80%. ratio is less than about 5%).

There is a certain gap between China's roller manufacturing equipment and the international advanced level. However, in recent years, domestic roller equipment manufacturers have achieved certain results in equipment development based on learning from foreign advanced equipment, such as roller high-speed cold heading machines. The successful development of roller CNC centerless grinders, roller CNC spherical surface grinders, roller superfinishing machines and other equipment has improved the technical level of domestic roller equipment. Domestic roller inspection equipment, especially visual inspection equipment, is already equivalent to or surpasses foreign equipment. For example, roller online appearance inspection, domestically produced equipment has far surpassed Europe, the United States and Japan in market share.

However, compared with the supporting needs of high-end bearings in the main engine industry, there is still a certain gap in the current performance indicators of rollers. The effective breakthrough of this bottleneck requires the joint efforts of insightful people in the industry, the technological progress and transformation and upgrading of bearing parts companies, and the close cooperation of bearing manufacturers and roller manufacturing companies. Breaking through this bottleneck has become an important key link for China's bearing industry to promote transformation and upgrading from large to strong.

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