This year marks the 50th anniversary of the joint venture between Japanese bearing manufacturer NTN Corporation and bearing supply and service business CBC Australia. 

The two companies have been working together in Australia since the late 1960s when the Japanese manufacturer began to grow its business abroad and shook hands with CBC founders to exclusively distribute NTN product in the country. The relationship forged back then paved the way to the long term–a 50/50 a joint venture company in Australia.

The unique 50/50 joint venture has brought unique benefits to Australian industrial businesses – one of which is having a direct line of communication to the Japanese engineering teams. 

An example of this can be seen with Ennor Engineering, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of disc ploughs based out of Deniliquin, NSW. All original fitment bearings on the Ennor agricultural machinery are NTN and have been manufactured to meet specific requirements – the latter made possible by the joint venture.

According to Managing Director Craig Ennor, one of the key reasons his company chooses NTN bearings is because of their high quality, reliability, and the fact that he can communicate his requirements via CBC to the NTN engineering team. 

“We have tested all the known bearing brand names over the last 40 years and have been sourcing the NTN bearings as the original fitment for the last 25 years,” says Craig. “We favour NTN because the bearings are manufactured to our requirements in Japan and we have access to communicate with NTN engineers as our requirements change.”

Through their local Motion Industrial Centre in Wodonga, Ennor Engineering began trialling NTN bearings some three decades ago. 

“We have features on our bearings that are not found on other brands, such as high torque seals and case-hardened inner rings,” explains Craig. “NTN has even manufactured special batches to our specifications for us to test.”

The arrangement Ennor has with NTN through the NTN-CBC joint venture exemplifies how other industrial businesses can stand to benefit. 

“Australian ingenuity coupled with Japanese product innovation has benefitted industrial business operations across the nation,” says Ross Lee, Technical Manager of Strategic Partnerships – Bearings at CBC. “At the heart of this, is consultation.”

Ross points out that CBC are usually the first point of contact for customers when it comes to bearing matters. 

“Because of our national footprint, including branches out in regional areas, we’re usually the first port of call in determining if a business has a problem and where NTN can provide a solution,” says Ross. “No matter the location in Australia, we have a commercial and technical liaison between the branch, the customer, and directly with the manufacturer.” 

Ross reiterates the benefit of having access to the NTN Bearing Engineering department.

“It’s all about uptime of machinery with our customers and being able to enhance or improve performance can make a significant difference to an operation,” explains Ross. “We can provide material enhancements or design enhancements on bearings through our access to the NTN engineering and manufacturing divisions. Ennor is a great example of this.” 

Significantly, CBC plays an equally important role in ensuring customers feel supported. For example, Craig Ennor notes his relationship with the Motion Industrial Centre at Wodonga.  

“Any issues we have had over the years have been dealt with quickly and professionally. Something of benefit when dealing with CBC is the employees are loyal to the company, so the ongoing knowledge of our business and its evolving needs is not lost,” he points out. “The supply chain for an OEM is crucial and CBC monitor my stock levels and send reports to me every month, as well as follow ups in case changes need to be made.”

Chris Lindner, Sales Representative at the Motion Industrial Centre in Wodonga, has worked with Craig for over 7 years, and has helped facilitate some of the design modifications required by Ennor on the bearings with NTN.

“We’ve been able to work in conjunction with this customer to improve and develop the design of the bearings needed for the Ennor applications and it’s been a success,” says Chris. “That’s largely due to our partnership with NTN. We relayed the requirements to the design and engineering department in Japan and they came up with a successful solution.”