Celebrating 25 years of BearingNet!

You’ve all heard the story about how BearingNet started in Peter’s basement, but we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and speak to some of the earliest adopters and supporters of BearingNet who believed in our vision 25 years ago and continue to support us today! 

We are extremely grateful to each and every one of our 1,900+ members from around the world. This would not have been possible without the belief of the companies who trusted us in those initial stages, uploaded their inventory (after all, it’s the inventory that makes this work!) and have helped us develop the platform into what it has become today.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

Firstly we spoke to Nick Stamatiadis, founder of Bearings 2000 (Pty) Ltd in South Africa. He reflects on the very early days when he met John Bass (BearingNet’s founder) who many of you will remember.

“I first met John, must have been back in the mid-eighties, at a bearing conference or maybe at the Hannover Messe. At the time I was the MD and part owner (with my Dad) of Dorr Trading company (Pty) Ltd which did a great job nationally as sole distributorship for Steyr Walzlager.

My father had been a Steyr distributor since 1949! First in Alexandria, Egypt and then in South Africa from 1969. We held the Steyr distributorship, nearly continuously, from 1949 until 1995 when Steyr was taken over by SKF.

At the time John was promoting his “Bearing Exchange” magazine which
I immediately subscribed to. I was impressed by John’s presence and larger-than-life personality. He was jovial and had a great way of relating to people and a great sense of humour! John had an excellent knowledge of the international bearing market and was known by most players everywhere.

At a subsequent business trip in the UK, I called on John and invited him to have dinner with me and discuss a bit of the international bearing industry between beers and a good meal.

In 1992, soon after selling Dorr Trading Company to a mining house, I launched our current company Bearings 2000 which again was a Steyr distributor until 1996. When Steyr was acquired by SKF we converted to being Authorised SKF distributors which remains the case today (with a dozen or so years interruption when we were FAG-INA distributors). My sons Alex and Mike took the ownership and management of the company over from me in 2017 when I went into retirement.

Together, Alex and Mike, along with Ross Trevelyan who recently joined the company in the role of Managing Director, have taken the company to the next level many times over. Ross is an engineer with 25 years’ experience in the bearing industry. He is an invaluable addition to the company.

When BearingNet launched online in 1996 we were approached by John and became members immediately. We are proud to say we count among the very first members!

Our membership to BearingNet has become indispensable over the years and we currently consult and place orders using the site daily.

As South Africa is geographically distant from the main bearing centres, the need for locating readily unavailable, urgently required bearings occurs daily. BearingNet is the only place where such requirements can be located quickly and reliably.

Last but not least, aside from the excellent BearingNet platform and continuous enhancements and improvements, the friendliness and professionalism of all the BearingNet team whether it is when we meet in person at the BearingNet User Meetings or Hannover Messe or communicate via mail or on the phone, confirms to us that we are fortunate to have a business partner like BearingNet.”

Next we caught up with Paul Cuthill, Director of Godiva Bearings, UK.

It was in the middle of “Lockdown V3” in the UK when Chris and Paul caught up over video meeting. As has become normal, the first thing discussed was COVID-19 for 10 minutes. Both are West Ham fans but somehow being 3rd in the league did not even get a mention!) Paul spoke about his earliest memory of the “BearingNet Conference” (now better known as BearingNet User Meetings).

“I remember the hotel we went to in Barcelona for the conference in 1997, it was our first experience of a BearingNet event (and the first public demonstration of BearingNet). We’d met up with some contacts on the first evening for dinner and had one or two glasses of wine. Things were off to a great start. I entered the conference room on the first day of the event ready to do business.

I was instantly hit by a wall of heat – I think it must have been the only hotel in Barcelona without air conditioning but the fantastic conversations we had and new companies we met was worth the heat stroke for sure!” Paul continued “The BearingNet meetings have grown over the years and are a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet people face to face, who you usually exchange emails with and an excellent stage to promote Godiva to the industry. We always see a big boost in sales after BearingNet events so that is always nice too.

Things change a lot in the industry, so it is really important to meet lots of people, learn what other companies are doing, how they are changing or adapting and share ideas and knowledge.

BearingNet has opened the world up for the bearing and power transmission industry and we are extremely proud to have been part of it since the beginning.

Some of our friends from BearingNet attended the 40th anniversary of Godiva in 2017 and we look forward to joining them to celebrate their special milestone soon.”

BearingNet officially celebrated its 25th anniversary on 1st July 2021 but such a occasion would not be the same party without our members there to join us. We planned to celebrate at the User Meeting in Berlin, but COVID-19 put a stop to that so we will celebrate the 26th anniversary at the meeting in Dublin in 2022 instead.

We look forward to seeing you all there and a big thank again, to all our members for making BearingNet what it is today…We couldn’t have done it without you!

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