We will more than double our revenue by 2025

  • Industry News
  • May 27,22
National Engineering Industries Ltd (NEI) - the manufacture of NBC Bearings - is one of the leading players in the manufacturing sector in India.
We will more than double our revenue by 2025

National Engineering Industries Ltd (NEI) - the manufacture of NBC Bearings - is one of the leading players in the manufacturing sector in India. The company, which produces over 200 million bearings annually and serves to customers across 30 countries, has aggressive growth plans. During his interaction with Rakesh Rao, Rohit Saboo, President and CEO, National Engineering Industries Ltd, discussed more about his growth strategy and the emerging trends in the industry. 

How is NBC Bearings fulfilling the bearing needs of its customers? 

NBC Bearings, manufactured by National Engineering Industries Ltd (NEI), produces a comprehensive range of bearings for sectors like automotive, industrial, and railway applications. It is India's leading manufacturer of bearings with the production of over 200 million bearings annually in over 2,300 sizes and serving to customers across 30 countries.

Our product range includes ball bearings, taper roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, spherical roller bearings and our newly introduced needle bearings. We also manufacture large diameter special bearings for railways, heavy engineering industries, and power generation plants. Additionally, we make axle boxes for railway rolling stock, as well as other allied, special, and next-generation products. 

Our products are known for their superior quality and precise performance. To achieve outstanding delivery, customer dialogue and flexibility of approach are combined with responsive design and development advancements. We have a dedicated R&D team, where research is conducted in specialised areas such as advanced materials and processes, product design, tribology and lubrication, virtual simulation and testing. The intense focus on R&D has led to substantial growth in patent filings for the company. 

Apart from the bearings for electric vehicles (EV), we are also focussing on expanding our portfolio into other critical sectors like aerospace and defence industries in order to reduce import dependency for the country. 

How is the demand for bearing from industrial and automotive customers in India? Which end-user industries are driving the demand? 

We are keeping pace with the developments in the automotive segment and expect it to grow steadily. One segment that we are bullish about is the industrial segment where there is a lot of scope for growth as the market is huge. We’ll put special efforts to grow our business in this segment in the coming future. Apart from this aerospace segment, although at very initial stages, looks promising for the long run.

Bearings are also used in multiple industries that require precision. In March 2022, while the industrial production growth remained subdued, mainly due to poor performance by the manufacturing sector which showed staggered impact of the third wave of the pandemic, factory output measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew. This was a good sign considering that due to the recent geopolitical issue, rural distress, fuel price-led inflation and hike in commodity prices many industries are facing a tough time. 

Now, traditionally automotive customers drove the demand for bearings but as the sector is facing a tough time due to the impact of COVID-19, increase in prices of raw materials, shortage of chips, and increase in container costs. It continues to bring the bulk of the demand and we are optimistic that the industry will gradually come back to pre-covid levels. There is also demand from electric vehicle manufacturers where the requirement is of light weight and high RPM bearings. The bearings sector is also seeing newer demand streams such as precision bearing from aerospace. 

Apart from this, more investment in industries will fuel the demand for industrial bearings which are widely used in all types of industries. For us, traditionally, approximately 60% of our business comes from automotive, 20% from railways and the remaining from industrial. There is also good demand from international markets where we are growing.

With automakers focusing on electrification, what kind of changes are you seeing in terms of bearing requirements?  

The specifications and requirements of the automotive industry are undergoing a technological transformation from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicle (EV). The specification for EV bearings has changed in terms of speed, noise, light-weighting and life. Also, government policies, and stringent fuel efficiency and emission regulations along with increasing customer demand, have enabled the EV market to boom.

In response to these developments, NBC Bearings is heavily investing in new technological developments and adapting or redesigning conventional bearings. 

How is NBC Bearings gearing up to tap EVs? 

India has the greatest untapped EV market in the world, particularly in the two-wheeler segment. The penetration of electric vehicles has expanded dramatically in recent years. The Indian government has been promoting electric mobility through a number of initiatives such as 100% FDI through the automatic route in EV space, incubation programs, shared facilities for prototyping and small-scale manufacturing, financing support through Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS), tax rebates and subsidies for buyers.

With the indigenously designed sensor integrated bearings (SIB) for electric vehicles, NBC has already initiated process of design, develop, testing infrastructure, and validation of our bearings for electric vehicles (EVs). These have features like high rpm capable, reduced noise and friction, power-dense and improved life compared to traditional bearings. We are already supplying these to some of the EV OEMs in the space of 2W, 3W and passenger cars and are engaged with global OEMs in commercial vehicle space. In order to be future-ready, we are working closely with both the domestic and international OEMs to provide them with optimised bearing solution for their upcoming vehicles.

What are key challenges before bearing makers today? Is the rising cost of raw materials a concern? 

The Covid-19 pandemic had its share of lessons to offer across industries. It had taught every country to reduce its dependency on imported products and parallelly develop a robust local supplier ecosystem. Rural distress, fuel price-driven inflation, and commodity prices have risen dramatically. Container shortage and rising logistics costs are also hurting the industry.

Raw materials are a crucial cost component for automakers, accounting for almost 75 percent of the total cost. An increase in raw material costs has a direct impact on acquisition costs and demand. Also, as a result of recent geopolitical issues, the price situation remains unpredictable. Steel, polymers, aluminum, copper, rhodium, platinum, and other essential commodities have been stubbornly high since 2020. All metal prices have increased, and we anticipate short-term volatility. Due to the prolonged crisis, we see a clear supply-chain concern.

The problems exist across all geographies and segments. Those that can innovate and establish flexible methods to construct a sustainable supply chain network and look for ways to lower production costs will be the winners. To sustain volume, products with the types of chips that are substantially more available should be pushed.

What are your growth plans for the bearings business? 

The company has undergone multiple economic, social, and policy changes, with a view to enhance the quality of its products and services, thereby addressing the needs of the stakeholders, keeping pace with the changing times. We are growing rapidly and will more than double our revenue by 2025. 

In 2020, we acquired Kinex Bearings in Europe to enhance and diversify in order to provide best-in-class products to our existing and potential customers and to be close to international customers. We are also open to other M&A opportunities to enhance our reach and provide sustainable products to our customers which will reduce their and their customers’ carbon footprint. 

We are further expanding our manufacturing footprint in Bagru, near Jaipur where we will setup new lines for manufacturing bearings over the next four years. We are continually evolving trying to find agile and smarter ways to ramp up our production and offer value to our customers. 

NBC Bearing is working with a number of leading research institutes and centers in India and abroad to develop the advanced design, testing, and validation capabilities, and is preparing to offer aerospace bearing solutions by establishing a world-class manufacturing facility with AS9100 certifications and the necessary NADCAP certifications. Kinex also has vast experience in aerospace bearing design and manufacturing. 

The emission norms and global warming have always been a major concern for the automotive industry. As a solution, NBC Bearings is developing flexible solutions to overcome the challenges to fulfil the demands. The imperative focus is on weight reduction, fuel efficiency, and low noise bearings. 

Currently, we are focusing on different types of bearings such as oil impregnated bearing; NBC ‘EMB’ Series bearing; compact solutions special HT; ‘INSUOHUM’ bearing and sensor bearing.


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