In February 2010, the Luton-based engineering company SKF will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in the United Kingdom.
SKF was originally founded in Sweden in 1907, but quickly opened its first overseas sales office in London in 1910. The following year, the company came to Luton, choosing a site on Leagrave Road to build a manufacturing facility for the production of bearings. These products are used in almost every piece of equipment with rotating parts; for example, in industrial machinery, printing presses, mining and quarrying systems, and in cars, trains and aircraft.
Today, SKF is recognized as a global knowledge engineering company, with a wide range of products, of which bearings manufactured in the U.K. continue to form a key part. These products are now produced at the company’s purpose built Sundon plant and U.K. headquarters, which opened in 1936 – production at the Leagrave site ceased in 1977.
The Sundon factory currently produces spherical and CARB toroidal roller bearings for heavy industrial applications; SKF also offers a range of support services from the Sundon site, including machine tool spindle repairs and the refurbishment of Taper Bearing Units (TBUs) for the railway industry.
In addition, SKF has a number of other facilities across the U.K.; in Aberdeen, for the delivery of maintenance strategy and services to the offshore oil and gas sector; in Gloucester, for the manufacture of high-performance bearings in the aerospace sector; and 11 centers across the U.K. for the production of custom engineered sealing solutions.
Phil Burge, U.K. marketing manager, believes that, “Although SKF is a major global corporation, with production plants around the world, our U.K. engineering base in Luton has always played an important role in the overall success of the company, both at home and abroad. Even during the recent economic recession we have still managed to maintain a strong level of output, which we anticipate will grow in coming years as the pace of global recovery picks up. As a result, we anticipate continued investment and development of our U.K. manufacturing center in Luton, giving us the basis for another century of success in the U.K”.