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SKF bearings put Scuderia Ferrari in the driving seat

Category : Announcements , News

The 2017 Formula 1 season just started, and SKF is right at the heart of it again, extending its long association with Scuderia Ferrari. SKF will supply a range of specialist products as well as its design and validation expertise to the Italian motor racing giant.

“We have had close and lasting technical cooperation with Scuderia Ferrari for 70 years,” says Jean-Sylvain Migliore, SKF Racing Unit Manager. “Our parts offer real technical advantages – ranging from low friction and compactness to higher toughness and extended life.”

Under the agreement, SKF will supply all customised products that fit into the chassis, such as wheel bearings and plain bearings. At the same time, it will supply a broad range of products for the engine and gearbox – including cylindrical and needle roller bearings, deep groove and angular contact ball bearings and hybrid products.

The SKF bearings provide top end performance: special materials – such as high speed and high temperature steel – as well as special coatings and other complex features all contribute towards meet the exacting standards of Formula 1 components.

Some of the materials, including ceramics, special steels, lubricants and coatings, are still under development in SKF’s R&D centre. In addition, SKF will supply Scuderia Ferrari with testing facilities in order to improve factors such as condition monitoring.

“SKF has been associated with Ferrari since the foundation of the Maranello factory. Over the years, Ferrari has enjoyed the fruits of this co-operation and looks forward to a bright future together” says Maurizio Arrivabene, Scuderia Ferrari’s Team Principal at Scuderia Ferrari.”

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SKF helps the Ducati Team gear up for MotoGP 2017

Category : Announcements , News

SKF’s high performance parts and specialist technical knowledge are once again helping the Ducati Team prepare for success in this year’s MotoGP World Championship. The season started on March 23 with the Grand Prix of Qatar on a track that last year saw the Italian motorcycle manufacturer not only place second thanks to Andrea Dovizioso but also claim the circuit’s top speed record with Andrea Iannone’s 351.2km/h. The 2017 Ducati Team line-up will see five-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo from Spain join Italian Andrea Dovizioso for the 18-round season.

“Building on a more than 18-year strong strategic partnership with Ducati Corse, our advanced engineering solutions and bearings expertise have long helped Ducati achieve racing excellence including last year’s amazing results,” Alberto Guerrini, who is responsible for the Ducati account at SKF, said. “With the technical advantages of our solutions, such as low friction, long service lives and robustness, we are confident Ducati will enjoy another fantastic season.”

SKF is supporting Ducati with the design and validation of a broad range of specialist components that boost the performance of its purpose built racing machines. The custom engineered parts include deep groove and angular contact ball bearings, cylindrical, spherical and needle roller bearings, hub bearing units and inner rings.

The bespoke parts are developed to withstand the tough demands of the motorsport sector and feature special materials, such as viton, and heat treatments for consistently reliable, high precision operation. SKF also analyses the parts returned from races and track tests in dedicated laboratories to ensure every component is continually being improved further and optimised.

Mauro Grassilli, Marketing and Sponsorship Manager of Ducati Corse, said: “With SKF’s commitment to the constant development of innovative customised solutions and the flexibility of its factories and supply chain for urgent deliveries, the partnership we have with them is a vital element of our success on the track. Thanks to its continued technical support and dedication we have no doubt that this season will be better than ever.”

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Why hygienic design of bearings is key to food safety

Category : News , Technical Articles

An emphasis on the hygiene element of the design of equipment can play an important role in controlling the safety of food products manufactured. However, applying this too broadly without focussing specifically on the hygienic design of the components part of the system, can potentially risk the spread of bacteria trapped within bearings, says Davide Zanghi, the person responsible for the Hygienic design office in SKF.

Hygienic design considers specifically how problems such as corrosion, lubricant leakage, cleaning and self-drying could adversely affect food safety – and applies design principles to solve the problem. In essence, it is a design philosophy applied through dedicated and specific rules. Just as ergonomic design pays close attention to the physical needs of product users, hygienic design has a laser focus on preventing issues of food contamination.

The European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) aims to promote safe food by improving the standard of hygienic engineering and design, and includes equipment manufacturers, food companies and research institutes among its members. In November 2016, in Denmark, it ran its biennial World Congress. On this occasion, SKF – an EHEDG member since 2006 – highlighted its long record using these design principles.
Design principles – a dim view on bearing components

In general, EHEDG guidelines consider bearings an easy place to trap food particles and water and therefore these are seen as potential breeding grounds for harbouring bacteria. The advice is: keep bearings well away from food product contact areas.

This is very much the case with recent guidelines on hygienic design of belt conveyors for the food industry, where EHEDG addresses two of the major challenges in safe food production: how to avoid contamination of food through inadequately designed processing equipment and how to improve food safety without raising operating costs for cleaning and production hygiene. Even if lots of attention goes on systems design and major components such as belts; bearing and bearing units consistently have a low profile within the overall hygienic system design.

However, even if not in direct contact with the food zone, bearings are often in the proximity of food product and with high pressure water or dry cleaning regimes they pose the risk that bacteria – if present – can get airborne and potentially contaminate the food product.

In order to minimize the risk of contamination, designing bearings with hygienic design principles in mind is a key consideration. One of the most important principles underpinning hygienic design is the ability to clean effectively. This may be easy to understand, but it is often difficult to achieve in practice, for bearings and bearing units. For a start, the products should be made from non-corrosive and non-porous materials, such as stainless steel, or composites and with shapes that are cleanable, allowing self-draining. Bearing units should have filled bases, which removes cavities where germs may fester.

In general materials used such as elastomers and composite and grease should be compliant with food safety directives and regulations. In all instances, potential of grease leakage onto the food product during operation should be avoided.

Ideally, bearing units should have effective end covers – that prevent process contaminants and cleaning fluids from entering the bearing units cavity and, at the same time, allow a frequent visual inspection.

Other relevant areas are:

• avoid metal to metal contacts in between unit components and in between units and attaching surfaces
• avoid re-lubrication as much as possible
• achieve high service life despite of very demanding operating and cleaning regimes

Hygienic design applies to food production and packaging machinery in its entirety. But dealing specifically with one of the most problematic components – bearings – can only help to improve the overall risk strategy.

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SKF builds to last: 3 000 tonnes of concrete anchor large size bearing test centre in Germany

Category : Announcements , News

SKF is currently building the world’s most powerful large size bearing test centre on its Schweinfurt ‘Werk 3’ site. This pioneering project is now one major step nearer completion – weighing in at around 3 000 tonnes, it took just two days to cast the foundations for the larger of the two new test rigs.

Around nine metres wide, six metres deep and 22 metres long, the pit that had to be filled for the base of the future SKF test rig was the size of two detached houses. It had to be filled quickly to ensure the concrete could set correctly.

Over the course of 19 hours, 150 mixer trucks brought in their load and discharged it in the pit, practically one vehicle every six minutes; so almost as if on a conveyor belt. “Obviously this was a logistical challenge,” says Armin Schaab of SKF’s Construction and Factory Planning team, “but quite clearly our detailed advance planning paid dividends. In addition, the entire team put in a magnificent effort on site, with everything running like clockwork and no incidents of note. This meant we were able to cast the 1 200 cubic metres as planned.”

The base is such a huge block because of the enormous forces likely to be unleashed by the test rig that will be anchored to it. The colossus among test rigs is intended in particular for the testing of gigantic rolling bearings for wind power. “It will be the first test rig in the world capable of testing not just a single main bearing but a complete bearing unit all at once,” says SKF’s Senior Vice President, Technology Development Bernd Stephan, hinting at the dimensions of this unique installation. “The bearings themselves can have an external diameter of anything up to six metres, being intended for turbines in the 10 megawatt class. The test rig can subject structures of that kind to dynamic forces in all directions that, when combined, are many times greater than on the strongest test installation currently available.”

Quite apart from that, the future test rig will also allow rotational speeds on testing that will be considerably higher than currently available. Using these exceptional capabilities, SKF wants to simulate extreme dynamic loads of the order of several meganewtons or meganewton metres in as realistic a manner as possible. In view of power capacity of this order, the engineers from RENK Test System GmbH, the firm entrusted with the development, even had to come up with a special fixing method that would direct the forces exerted on the station in a controlled manner along the correct paths.

“We are making these efforts because the existing computational simulation models simply aren’t capable of making truly realistic prognoses,” says Dr Martin Göbel, Manager of the test centre project at SKF in Schweinfurt. “Our two new test rigs will provide a remedy in this respect and give us insights into processes that were previously inaccessible. The relevant findings will make the new test centre a pioneering instrument in helping many customers from a wide variety of industries gain access to an energy-efficient future in a way that is tailored to the application in question.”

“In the final analysis, the 360 MSEK investment in the new test centre will help us customise large size bearings to their subsequent uses much more precisely and efficiently than has previously been possible,” says Manfred E. Neubert, President of SKF GmbH. “This means that our customers benefit from significantly higher levels of robustness and reliability in the new generation of large size bearings.” For SKF itself, the new test centre is like one of those final pieces in a puzzle soon to be completed, adding to the expertise in large size bearings already available on the Schweinfurt site.

Follow the construction of the world’s most powerful large size bearing test centre: http://skf-download.de/pruefzentrum/cam1en.php.

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Digitizing ship repairs: Why condition-based maintenance is gaining traction

Category : Technical Articles

The current situation in the maritime industry means ship owners are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs—while increasing safety and reliability. A condition-based maintenance strategy could help. But how does it work? And how can ship owners implement it successfully?

Choosing the right approach

CM solutions are vital to any CBM strategy. They work by using sensor devices to capture data on machinery and components: for example, accelerometers could measure the vibration of rotating components. Specialists then apply algorithms and their own knowledge to the data to analyze the equipment’s condition and identify any deterioration in performance.

There are two approaches to this: the data can either be collected periodically or continuously. The periodic approach relies on monthly or quarterly checks using portable devices. While this can be more cost-effective than continuous monitoring, there is the potential risk of issues going undetected in the time between checks. Therefore, continuous, real-time monitoring is typically applied to machines such as thrusters and alternators that are critical to operations or where repairs can be costly and time-consuming.

Continuous monitoring

  • Better suited to critical machinery
  • Real-time view of machinery conditions
  • More cost-effective in the long term
  • Conducted using online Systems

Periodic Monitoring

  • Typically used on non-critical systems
  • Provides advanced warning of failure
  • More cost-effective in the short term
  • Conducted using portable devices

The key to maximum reliability

Although they require more effort to implement on board, online systems for continuous monitoring have many benefits. When used in tandem with CM software, they provide integrated expert knowledge and automatic alerts based on detailed specifications. Specialists can quickly identify any faults and track their development to keep the machine operating in a safe and reliable manner. This not only helps ship operators to considerably reduce costs and minimize downtime, but also enables them to plan maintenance more efficiently and ensure the availability of replacement parts.

A CBM strategy can also extend inspection intervals. For example, a shipping company recently used the SKF thruster monitoring system on its thrusters to continuously monitor vibration and oil condition. By implementing a CM system, the company fulfilled the requirements of classification societies, extending the inspection interval from five years to seven and a half years. This saves an enormous amount of time and effort.

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Taking digitization on board

As maritime companies continue to adopt practices from other industries, CBM is now starting to gain traction in shipping. But digitization also contributes to its surge in popularity. Many ship operators are moving more and more data to the cloud to facilitate the sharing of information. This allows onshore experts to perform analyses and send their findings and recommendations to engineers onboard the vessel and onshore technical support teams.

Both trends look set to grow in the near future as shipping companies invest in ways to reduce total cost of ownership. By optimising ship safety, performance, and reliability, condition-based maintenance will certainly play a major role in the future of the sector.

Predictive, proactive, reliable

Cloud technology is revolutionising ship maintenance. Data can now be easily shared with more experts, both onshore and offshore, anywhere in the world. This helps them to make the right decisions at the right time and improve maintenance planning.

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Construction industry lies at the base of the world economy

Category : Announcements , News

Be it residential, commercial, heavy, civil or industrial edifice, they all require reliable heavy duty machinery and long term, trouble free functioning. JTEKT supplies both standard and customised Koyo products to serve those demanding applications.

The construction industry may be showing a differential growth pattern all over the world, nonetheless the use of modern technologies is always a must in order to assure reliability and efficiency.

Construction machinery designed for high performance in extreme harsh environments calls for bearings which can withstand these working conditions and at the same time guarantee proper functioning over a long time span. At JTEKT we follow the latest developments in the construction industry closely and our bearings are designed in order to meet up with the demands of this industry.

Experience and capabilities

JTEKT products are present in construction vehicles and equipment, whether in their drivetrain, in their power units or in their accessories. Typical applications are planetary gear reducers, steering systems, pumps and driveshaft. The unbeatable quality of our products and their specific designs allow our customers to guarantee superior performance to the end users under the extreme operating conditions (temperature, pollution, etc.) of those applications.

Products:

  • Tapered roller bearings
  • Cylindrical roller bearings
  • Spherical roller bearings
  • Solid race needle bearings
  • Cylindrical roller bearings
  • Cage & Roller assemblies
  • Universal joint bearings
  • Needle rollers sets
  • Thrust bearings
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Going circular: The next industrial revolution?

Category : Announcements , News

The benefits of recycling, reusing and re-manufacturing have been promoted for years. But today, the practice has evolved from one of environmental responsibility to a model for the future of industry and world economies. It’s called the “circular economy” and is viewed by many as the next industrial revolution.

The circular economy aims to almost eliminate waste by using products, parts and raw materials for as long as possible. Proponents see the model as having tremendous global advantages, offering a solution to population growth, dwindling natural resources and climate change.

Researchers and scientists view it as an absolute necessity, as elements, including gold, silver and tungsten could be exhausted in the next 50 years. Other resources, such as crude oil, are getting harder and more expensive, to extract. Commodity prices are increasingly volatile and environmental degradation is impacting the food supply.

Bringing the circular economy to reality will require the reorganisation of how the world produces and consumes. Changes will include designing products to last longer, and in a way that allows raw materials and components to be stripped out when the product has reach the end of its service life. Using renewable resources, reusing and recycling excess resources, and buying and selling services instead of products would also be standard procedure.

Leading business and industrial leaders are already buying in. French automaker Renault, fashion retailer H&M, and telecommunications giant Vodafone have introduced  “circularity” into their business models.  Other companies are sure to follow.  Could your organisation benefit?

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New SKF grease cuts false brinelling damage in half

Category : Announcements , News

The innovative anti-false brinelling grease for hub bearing units from SKF reduces friction and wear significantly, while improving bearing performance.

SKF has launched a new grease that has been proven to reduce the damage caused by false brinelling in hub bearing units by more than 50 per cent when compared with competing greases. The lubricant has been introduced to the market to help overcome this wear phenomenon and can also enable overall improvements in vehicle efficiency by limiting fretting corrosion and the micro-damages caused by vibration.

Designed for use with both new designs and retrofits, the grease is fully compatible with bearing components materials and came out as the best performing lubricant for reducing the raceway micro-damages caused by false brinelling when tested alongside several other standard greases.

In particular, this solution was shown to lead to a consistent improvement in bearing robustness against the micro-damages in the raceways that often occur during vehicle transportation by rail or truck, for example. In addition, the grease maintains the performance level of the hub bearing unit, including service life.

Roberto Galante, Manager of Advanced Development Wheel End at SKF, said: “With the ability to cut false brinelling damage in half, this grease will play a vital role in helping OEMs to ensure that the micro-damages caused by ball-raceway contact in hub bearing units during vehicle transportation will not exceed the strict thresholds specified by automotive companies. Furthermore, the lubricant maintains the same bearing qualities for consistently optimal reliability and performance.”

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Improved productivity and performance with automated lubrication

Category : Technical Articles

Proper lubrication is integral to ensuring the functionality of components and systems within heavy-duty machinery.

“If there’s a bushing, bearing or gear, something that is rotating or sliding in agricultural, construction and mining machines, it’s going to require lubrication,” says Peter Laucis, Director of Portfolio Management – ALS Products, SKF Lubrication Business Unit. “And the heavier the loads, the more aggressive and dirty the environment, the greater the need for lubrication.”

While manual lubrication is still the norm in many applications, use of automated lubrication systems (ALS) is becoming a more prevalent alternative to help minimise downtime, improve overall quality and safety through preventative maintenance.

With an ALS, lubricant can be applied exactly when and where it’s needed while the machine is running. Manual lubrication, on the other hand, requires the machine to be stopped before lubricant can be applied, and may require a person to climb onto the machine which can be a safety issue.

In addition to helping increase safety and productivity for equipment owners, Laucis says OEMs can also benefit from integrating an ALS into their equipment. “It can extend warranty and performance, and it can maintain the unit running at various conditions under the design the machine was geared to do.”

The systems and how they work

An ALS consists of a reservoir containing grease or other designated lubricant and an electric, pneumatic or hydraulic pump which activates the system to deliver lubricant from the reservoir to the desired location within the machine. Depending on the design of the machine, lubricant can be dispensed to as many as 100 or 200 different points. A series of metering valves are used to apply the lubricant in the desired location at the exact time lubrication is needed.

The system knows where and when to apply lubricant due to built-in controls. If the ALS is integrated into a machine at the factory, the system can be controlled by the OEM’s programmable logic controller (PLC). The appropriate lubrication intervals are programmed into the PLC, enabling it to turn on the ALS when necessary.

SKF also designs controllers which can be built into the system if it is added to a piece of equipment at the aftermarket level or another point along the OEM channel, such as by a dealer. Laucis says these controllers can provide simple on/off control or be more sophisticated through the inclusion of sensing devices to provide operators with information about when lubrication cycles are occurring, fault indicators and performance attributes.

Single line parallel and progressive are the two main types of lubrication systems used within heavy-duty mobile applications. A single line parallel system consists of a reservoir and a pump connected to a bank of injectors by a single hose line. The injectors are lined up in parallel with one another, like fingers on comb, and each of the injectors function independently of one another. By doing so, each injector meters the exact amount of lubricant required and can also be adjusted independently if necessary.

The independent functionality is beneficial because if one bearing fails or gets blocked in some manner, it will not adversely affect lubrication of other bearings in the machine. “People like the single line parallel because they can lubricate the entire machine of, let’s say 120 points, and when a couple of those points fail, they’re still getting lubrication in the other systems,” says Laucis.

He notes these systems are often used in heavy mining equipment due to the need to minimize downtime as much as possible. It can also be used in construction equipment to avoid poor operator maintenance and in agricultural equipment for safety and bearing protection.

Progressive systems are similar, except the single line goes to a series of valve blocks instead of a parallel line of injectors. Each valve block meters lubricant to various points within a machine; one block may have up to 12 points to which it provides lubricant, and the next block or zone will lubricate another 12 points, and so on. “The main difference is if you have one bearing that blocks, it literally stops the entire system because the grease is progressing through the system in a series,” Laucis says. “If you block one bearing it will actually have a hydraulic lock on every piston in that block in the system, then the whole system shuts down.”

He says this type of system is typical for medium-size machines such as those used for highway construction because customers like that a fault indicator will come on when a blockage occurs, letting them know to check the machine at the end of the work day. While downtime is a concern, it is not as important as in mining operations where even the smallest amount of downtime can adversely affect productivity and thus profit for the customer.

Multiline systems can also be used in off-highway machinery. This system consists of a round housing with several points—up to 20—coming out of it, each of which goes to an individual bearing or other component to lubricate. The system is designed to simultaneously feed several points within a short distance. Laucis says this system is typically used in smaller, less heavy-duty applications due to the fact that it’s not necessarily the most cost-effective option. Since the system is limited on how many on points it can feed, a larger machine would require several systems to be installed, whereas the single line systems are more modular and better able to feed a larger number of points from a single source.

Moving toward more automation

Use of an ALS is becoming more prevalent within the heavy equipment industry, however, Laucis says it can be difficult in some applications to compete with an individual who manually lubricates a machine. In large, heavy-duty machines—such as mining equipment—he says there is a high rate of adoption because much of the equipment is automated to maintain performance levels and eliminate or minimize downtime, which can be aided by an ALS.

He says safety is also a factor for increased use of these systems in heavy machinery. “People are becoming really safety conscious. They are preventing or minimizing the environments where there’s danger, and lubricating points on a machine is a safety issue.” Eliminating the need to manually lubricate parts of the machine ensures a person will not have to climb all over the machine—which may be covered in dirt and grease—and risk possible injury. “You also have mechanical shut off devices, automatic sensing for high/low level grease levels,” says Laucis. “All these accessories are now becoming more prevalent and required on automatic lube systems because they will promote safe environments, continuous uptime performance and be able to provide a nice clean machine.

“In the medium machinery market, where cost per point is becoming more critical, I would say the market is stabilizing and increasing based on the value of performance,” he continues. This is due in part to the ability to add telematics to the lubrication system, enabling customers to receive feedback on performance and servicing like they do with other systems in their machine. Increasing safety has also caused the rising use of automated lubrication systems in these machines.

On smaller sized machines, Laucis says manual lubrication is still the norm as end users typically have regularly scheduled maintenance they perform, making it easy to have lubrication be a part of that maintenance regimen. However, he does see the rate of adoption for ALS increasing in this segment, as well.

Whether the system is installed at the OEM or aftermarket level is also dependent on the type of machinery in which it will be used. On larger machines, the OEM tends to install the ALS at the factory. As machine size starts to decrease, the use of auto lube become options depending on the customer preferences and use of the machines in their environment. OEMs look to a strong aftermarket “pull” by their customers to standardize their ALS factory fit systems.

On the aftermarket side, he says it’s important to look at what value there is for the customer to add the system, such as safety and performance benefits. For a rental fleet, the case could be made for using the systems to help maintain inventory. If a rented machine comes back and is not performing as it should, the ALS’s data logger can verify whether or not the machine was properly lubricated to help narrow down what may be causing the issue. Laucis says having strong aftermarket support and proof of ROI on the end user side can lead to an OEM seeing value in integrating the system at the factory.

Since SKF also designs and manufactures bearings, the company is able to use its knowledge of how they work, and what causes them to fail, in order to explain the benefits of moving to an ALS. One of the most common performance issues with bearings is the lack of lubrication and they are dirty. “The best way to prolong the life of a bearing is to have a continuous, thin film of lubricant at all times,” says Laucis. “We have studies and other information to say if you continually lubricate with small intervals, you will have the longest performance of a bearing.”

An automated system is able to provide that continuous lubrication, whereas manual lubrication would require a person to stand by the machine while it’s running and move a grease gun to every point requiring lubrication, and apply grease every minute says Laucis. Often times manual lubrication is completed at the end of the work day or week, and the lubrication point is flooded with grease or the worker only applies a few pumps of grease and then goes about his or her business. This causes long intervals between lubricant applications, which he says is not the best way to prolong the life of a bearing.

“And that’s the philosophy of automated lubrication versus other methods that has to be sold and promoted to maintain machines on a longer level,” says Laucis. Through the use of an ALS, both OEMs and end users can benefit from the system applying only the amount of grease a bearing requires and at the exact time it’s needed, ensuring the bearing will perform as designed and machine downtime will be minimized.

The original article written by Sara Jensen/OEM Off-Highway can be found here: http://www.oemoffhighway.com/article/12250664/automatic-lubrication-systems-increase-machine-performance-and-reduce-downtime.

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20 years NKE Austria

Category : News

Steyr, Austria, October 2016. Bearing manufacturer NKE Austria GmbH is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Based in the Austrian city of Steyr, the company was founded in 1996 by Heimo Ebner and Harald Zerobin, both previously leading employees of former bearing manufacturer Steyr Wälzlager. NKE produces standard and special bearings for all industrial applications, with engineering, product development, production, final parts processing and assembly, quality assurance, logistics, sales and marketing being centralised at its Steyr headquarters. The bearings are distributed through 12 international representative offices and 240 distribution outlets in 60 countries.

bild-1-nke-ebner-witzler-zerobin_web
NKE founders Heimo Ebner (left) and Harald Zerobin (right) with General Manager Thomas Witzler

In its first ten years, NKE experienced rapid, constant growth, with its turnover increasing on average by more than 20 percent a year. As early as 1996 its employees numbered about 80. To keep up with the growth, the company’s premises in Steyr-Gleink were expanded several times, but still proved too small. Consequently, new premises were completed in the Stadtgut Steyr business park in 2009. The new premises, in which NKE invested more than 15 million euros, had a building area of 10,000 m². As well as doubling the production capacity, the relocation facilitated a greater vertical integration and more efficient logistics. Despite the financial crisis, NKE increased in turnover in 2009 while its number of employees grew to 200. An important growth sector in this respect was wind energy, with China as the number one growth market. It was in the same year that NKE opened its first Chinese sales office in Shanghai. In the end, however, the global financial crisis did not pass NKE by without leaving its mark: today, staffing levels are down to 120. With the aim of uniting strengths and expertise and taking advantage of synergies, Spanish bearing manufacturer Fersa Bearings, which is specialised in the automotive sector, acquired an interest of 49 percent in NKE in 2016. The resulting group of companies boasts three production sites, five distribution centres, and three research and development locations.

bild-2-nke-austria-in-steyr_1200_web
The NKE headquarters in business park Stadtgut Steyr.

After guiding the company for 20 years, its two founders and former General Managers Heimo Ebner and Harald Zerobin passed the company’s management on to Thomas Witzler in July 2016. With their many years’ expertise and experience they continue to be active in NKE, dealing with strategic planning within the company. “It is with pleasure and a little pride that we look back on the past two decades, in which we have succeeded, together with our staff, in establishing NKE as a manufacturer of premium bearings” says Harald Zerobin. “With the reorganisation we can now invest more time in strategic topics to shape and plan the next 20 years.” Regarding his future plans for the company, the new General Manager Thomas Witzler says: “Our aim is to continue our success story of the past 20 years. We will increase our focus on technical solutions, not least as a partner in the development of smart bearing solutions. Initial confirmed customer projects and feedback are already showing that we are on the right path. In addition, we have been able to bring ‘Advanced Engineering’ – the development engineering department for the entire group of companies – to our Steyr headquarters. In five years we want to make 20 percent of our sales with products that haven’t even been developed yet.”

About NKE Austria:
NKE Austria GmbH is a bearing manufacturer with headquarters in Steyr, Austria. The company was founded in 1996 by a group of senior staff members of former company Steyr Wälzlager. NKE offers both standard and special bearings for all industrial applications. Engineering, product development, production and final processing of components, assembly, quality assurance, logistics, and sales and marketing are centralised at its Steyr headquarters. The factory in Steyr is certified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001. NKE’s products are distributed through 12 international representative offices and more than 240 distribution outlets in over 60 countries.

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