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Bearing Associations Help Demystify Bearings Buys


Bearings are everywhere—
from toy dolls to barstools
to robots performing brain
surgery. You name it, and somewhere
upstream or downstream bearings
will be in play. But much like their
gear counterparts, bearings usually go
unnoticed in everyday life—until they
fail. Or until, perhaps, you are the person
charged with specifying and/or
purchasing them for your company.
And, there are bearings—and then
there are bearings. The distinction being
that while commodity-type bearings
are prevalent in the marketplace,
that’s not much help to you if you are
looking for, say, special dimension or
custom bearings.
Indeed, commodity-application
bearings are a big portion of what in
the U.S. alone is approximately an
$11 billion industry, which includes
ball, roller and plain bearings (Source:
Freedonia Group report). That’s a lot of
bearings to keep track of. So it is little
wonder that U.S. bearing associations
have formed and evolved over the
years to become major players in the
industry for their selling and buying
members—whether they are sellers or

That said, the breadth of knowledge
of today’s bearing groups goes way
beyond commodity bearings. They
are fully capable of working with their
members to identify the most complex
bearings used in the most complex
applications. Indeed, working in tandem,
the associations do just about
everything for their members—from
publishing industry statistics to providing
invaluable training in the often
very complex world of bearings. In the
United States the bearings associations
work with members to provide training
and education opportunities, standards
updates (where they exist), lobbying
and public policy initiatives, as
well as regularly held business forecast
functions and seminars, trade shows,
and other networking opportunities.
Aside from the above activities, however,
bearings associations are, in essence,
accomplished matchmakers;
they exist to facilitate hooking up bearings
buyers with bearings sellers, and
to everyone’s mutual satisfaction and
benefit. There are three such bearings
organizations in the U.S.—the American
Bearing Manufacturers Association
(ABMA), the Bearing Specialists
Association (BSA) and the
Power Transmission
Distribution Association
with the latter
involved in not
only bearings
but other power