SKF Inc (AB SKF) history, profile and history video
SKF Inc (AB SKF) is a Sweden-based company engaged in the supply of products and services within rolling bearings, seals, mechatronics, services and lubrication systems. Services include technical support, maintenance services, condition monitoring and training. The Company’s operations are divided into three business areas: Industrial Market, Strategic Industries; Industrial Market, Regional Sales and Service; and Automotive. First two areas focus on managing the total life cycle of the customers’ assets and deliver a range of products, services and solutions to both original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users within different industries. The Automotive area serves manufacturers of cars, light trucks, heavy trucks, trailers, buses, two-wheelers and the vehicle service market with products, such as wheel hub bearing units, tapered roller bearings, small deep groove ball bearings, seals, and mechanical and electrical products for engine, steering and driveline applications.”
The company was founded on Sven Wingqvist’s 1907 Swedish patent No. 25406, a multi-row self-aligning radial ball bearing. The Patent was granted on 6 June in Sweden coinciding with patents in 10 other countries. The new ball bearing was successful from the outset. By 1910, the company had 325 employees and a subsidiary in the United Kingdom. Manufacturing operations were later established in multiple countries.
By 1912, SKF was represented in 32 countries and by 1930, a staff of over 21,000 were employed in 12 manufacturing facilities worldwide with the largest in Philadelphia, PA.
Assar Gabrielsson, SKF sales manager and Björn Prytz, Managing Director of SKF were the founders of Volvo AB in 1926. In the beginning, the company functioned as a subsidiary automobile company within the SKF group. SKF funded the production run of the first thousand cars, built at Hisingen in Gothenburg, beginning in 1927. SKF used one of the company’s trademarked names: AB Volvo, which derives from the Latin “I roll”, with its obvious connotations of bearings in motion. The ownership of Volvo lasted until 1935 when the last shares were divested.
It is notable that although Sweden was an appreciably neutral country during World War 2, SKF limited its manufacturing in allied countries while maximising its output in Germany. This had a particularly detrimental effect on the USAF.
In the 1970s SKF embarked on a massive production rationalization program in Europe. A visionary project, “Production Concept for the 80s” was launched with the aim to run the night shifts practically unmanned. To increase productivity and safeguard the product quality, a continuous, automatic flow of bearing rings was needed, so SKF developed theFlexlink multiflex plastic chain conveyor system. SKF divested FlexLink as a separate company in 1997. It is noteworthy that, despite vociferous Swedish government opposition to apartheid and adoption of selective sanctions, SKF continued to operate openly in South Africa during the apartheid era, headquartered opposite Jan Smuts International Airport in Johannesburg, from where it provided crucial resources, not least to the South African armaments industry.
Present day business
Today, SKF is the largest bearing manufacturer in the world and employs approximately 44,000 people in approximately 100 manufacturing sites that span 70 countries. Turnover for FY2005 was SEK49,285 million, and total assets were SEK40,349 million. The SKF Group currently consists of approximately 150 companies including the seal manufacturer Chicago Rawhide. Since its founding, SKF’s company headquarters have been located in Gothenburg. One recent acquisition was that of Economos, part of Salzer Holding, an Austria-based seal company, Jaeger Industrial and ABBA, Taiwanese manufacturers of linear actuators. The company’s clients include General Electric, Rolls-Royce plc and Pratt & Whitney. It also supplies bearings for Ferrari racing vehicles, used in Formula One races, and is a sponsor of F1. Another focus area is the energy sector, including wind turbines which generate electricity.
By 2013, SKF Industrial Market, Regional Sales and Services, made up about 40% of SKF’s total sales.”
*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “ SKF Group“