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Digital production process introduced for bearings

15 November 2017

SKF's operations in Gothenburg, Sweden, are set to be given a boost with the inauguration of a new, fully-automated and digital production process, adapted for the manufacture of spherical roller bearings. The new production unit is the first of its type to be put into operations within the SKF Group and is part of a programme of next generation manufacturing technology within the company.

Luc Graux, director of manufacturing for the SKF Group, explain: "The production flow is totally unique within the bearings industry, and constitutes a new manufacturing standard for us, which we will replicate into numerous facilities within the Group. The investment programme is important for us if we are to utilise our manufacturing capacity even more efficiently, as well as increasing our global competitiveness and the flexibility we can offer our customers."

With the help of digital technology, the entire value chain in the production process is connected, from the inflow of input components to the delivery of the product to the end user. In addition, the next generation of mobile infrastructure is combined with the manufacturing process, in order to enhance efficiency.

"The new production unit will open up new possibilities for us to reduce lead times and to improve flexibility and efficiency in our production," adds Sten Karlsson, project manager for the new production unit.

Parallel to the investment in Gothenburg, similar investments are planned for Schweinfurt in Germany, Nilai in Malaysia and Flowery Branch in the USA.

Over a million bearings per year are manufactured in the Gothenburg facility. Most are exported for use in heavy industry, such as mining, steelworks, paper machines, wind turbines, train gearboxes, fans and pumps.