NTN-CBC: Celebrating 50-years of teamwork

NTN-CBC: Celebrating 50-years of teamwork

A solid fifty-year relationship built on mutual respect and teamwork is accredited to the successful and unique joint venture between NTN Corporation Japan and Motion Asia Pacific.

The two companies have been working together in Australia through Motion Asia Pacific’s subsidiary CBC Australia since the late 1960s. At this time, the Japanese-founded bearing manufacturer NTN began expanding their distribution network around the globe and their attention was set on Australia.

Thanks to an already established distribution relationship between CBC founders, the Martin-Weber family, and NTN Japanese management, in 1971, following a visit to Australia by the President of NTN, a 50/50 joint venture was established – a new separate legal entity called NTN-CBC Australia Pty Ltd.

Today, NTN-CBC is uniquely positioned in the NTN global family, which manages about 220 operations worldwide. As acting director of the NTN-CBC joint venture, Takao (Jerry) Maki, who resides in Australia, sees himself as the bridge between the two companies, a role which is beneficial to Australian customers.

“A joint venture requires a close link between the Australian market and the global activities of NTN to provide the best products and services in an ever-changing market,” explains Jerry. “This is why I am based in Australia – it allows me to work with the local staff.”

“You cannot have a successful bearing distribution business without the backing of a major, full program product manufacturer, as well as the technical expertise, support and logistics from the supply end,” adds Jerry. “This is the responsibility and strength of NTN.”

“On the other hand, CBC has the vital functions of sales generation and managing local logistics, through their impressive distribution network and customer relationships. My job gives me a unique opportunity to provide a link between the local market and the global NTN network.”

Jerry attributes teamwork as a central pillar to the long-term success of NTN-CBC. “We have great respect for each other,” says Jerry. “You may think this is a very basic attitude to have, but this has helped us build a solid business venture and prosper for 50 years, with many more years ahead of us.”

Prior to the formation of NTN-CBC, NTN bearings were sourced and imported by CBC via a trading house in Japan. Today, we can acknowledge the NTN-CBC joint venture for significantly improving the efficiency of bearing distribution throughout Australia.

For the past 50 years, NTN-CBC have been proudly providing a huge range of world-class bearings to the construction, mining, automotive, agriculture, and food industries, keeping Australia in motion. Australian ingenuity coupled with Japanese product innovation has benefitted tens of thousands of businesses across the country, through the provision of a wide range of bearing products.

As the exclusive distributor of NTN products in Australia, NTN-CBC aim to improve the already impressive manufacturing capabilities of NTN through their commitment to applying innovative technologies.

During their 50-year joint venture, NTN-CBC have enjoyed a plethora of milestones, each one catapulting the business to where it is today. Ross Lee, Technical Manager, Strategic Partnerships – Bearings at Motion Asia Pacific, shares how NTN-CBC have achieved so much over the past 50 years.

“In the early years of our joint venture, NTN Corporation extended their investment contribution to providing specialised machine tools and fixtures to allow more efficient production of bearing housings at our CBC Sydney-based manufacturing business,” says Ross. “This enabled CBC to service requirements for both the NTN bearings and suitably designed housings.”

“During the 1980s to early 2000s, machinery, appliance, and passenger vehicle manufacturers had a much more significant presence in Australia,” explains Ross.  “For decades, CBC delivered quality NTN products to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for household names such as Hoover and Simpson washing machines, through to Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon motor vehicles.”

“CBC have also distributed ground-breaking products for NTN to the mining industry, significantly improving equipment reliability, which has ultimately strengthened our position as a supplier.”

To add to these achievements, in 1993, CBC supplied the largest spherical roller bearings NTN had ever produced. These were used in trunnion applications of new gold ore grinding mills. These record-size spherical roller bearings measured almost 2.2 metres in diameter.

From 1999, the heaviest spherical roller bearings ever produced at the time by NTN were supplied by CBC. These bearings weighed over four tonnes and were installed in HPGR crushers for diamond mining operations.

This joint venture between two businesses committed to the bearing industry has helped CBC strengthen their position as a supplier and distributor within Australia and given NTN an unmatched national footprint in Australia. With 50 years behind them, Australia’s industries can rely on NTN-CBC to continue to provide world-class bearing products, along with outstanding technical expertise, for many more years to come.