The company carried out raids at various distributors in Europe including Britain, Germany and Italy.
The products seized by Schaeffler were branded as INA and FAG products with spindle, spherical roller, ball and needle roller bearings found and confiscated.
Ingrid Bichelmeir-Böhn, Leader of the Global Brand Protection Team at Schaeffler, said: “Brand and product piracy is not a phenomenon that is limited to China or South East Europe. It also takes place right on our doorstep.
“The German and European markets are no longer only flooded with counterfeit luxury or consumer goods, there is also an increase in counterfeit industrial products that are relevant to safety such as roller bearings.”
The raids carried are not the first of their kind from Schaeffler and follow a similar operation in 2007 in which more than 40 tonnes of counterfeit bearings were destroyed.
The economic impact of counterfeiting on the business is hard to calculate, says Schaeffler, but includes loss of sales and damage to its image as well as the cost of investigation, confiscation and disposal of the fake bearings.
Bichelmeir-Böhn added: “Another loser is the end consumer, as the bearings they have had fitted may suffer from reliability and performance issues, a real safety risk in safety critical applications.”
The news comes after the original equipment suppliers association (OESA) which Schaeffler is part of, is set to launch its latest advertising campaign and take to the UK motor trade the message of ‘Our Quality – Your Reputation’.