Vartan Vartanian, President of SKF Service Division unveiled the new facility at an official ceremony, in front of 60 invited guests including customers, distributors and the press. The SKF Solution Factory is based around existing engineering, project management and analytical services at its Luton plant, supported as appropriate, by specialist production resources at the company’s manufacturing and technical centres around the world.
In particular, the new facility brings together essential services, including asset efficiency optimisation, root cause failure and lubrication analysis, application engineering and spindle and large size bearing refurbishment, plus project, energy and sustainability management.
Attending the official opening, Michael Crean, Director of SKF Service Division UK, explained, “In the past, SKF has been seen as a specialised manufacturer of high quality products, such as bearings, seals, lubrication systems, condition monitoring and linear motion devices. More recently, we have introduced a range of value added services that help engineers extend the performance and functionality of these products. In addition, we have steadily been developing the business tools, skills and infrastructure to enable us to work with customer organisations from the top down; for example, looking at how engineering or process assets can effectively be optimised to meet business goals”.
“The global SKF Solution Factory programme is therefore a vital element in our long term strategy, as it repositions our business as a key provider of knowledge engineering to customers at all levels, from senior management though planning and purchasing to production and engineering. Just as importantly, it enables us to partner with customers to develop unique solutions that deliver tangible commercial benefits from both existing and newly emerging technologies.”
The first SKF Solution Factory was opened in Shanghai in 2008. Since then a second Solution Factory has been set up in China and a further 10 in Taiwan, India, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Brazil, USA and France.
As part of the ongoing UK programme, the facility has been restructured, with continuous process and personnel development, to strengthen still further the depth and range of services available for key distributors, OEMs and end users alike.
Michael Crean concludes, “This is an exciting time for SKF, and we hope for our customers, as the global economy gradually recovers. It has been a long and continuing journey for us to reach this point, where we now have in place the infrastructure to enable us to deliver the essential core services and facilities of the Solution Factory. In effect, the Solution Factory is a key phase in the repositioning of our business and in strengthening our knowledge engineering capabilities, so that we can partner with customers at all levels and help them realise genuine improvements in business productivity and profitability.”