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SKF notches up a century in the UK

03 February, 2010

SKF is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the UK this year. The company opened a sales office in Lower Regent Street, London, in 1910, just three years after it was was founded in Sweden by Sven Wingqvist, inventor of the double-row, self-aligning ball bearing.

The following year, SKF inaugurated a production site in Luton. Initially, the factory (shown below) employed 150 people and produced around 180 bearings a day. By the end of the First World War, this figure had risen to 24,000 bearings per month.

In 1936, a new factory was opened in Sundon, a few miles from the first plant, where production continued until 1977 when all operations were centralised at Sundon, now SKF’s UK headquarters. The site makes spherical and toroidal roller bearings for heavy industrial applications, as well as offering support services.

SKF has several other facilities in the UK including a plant in Gloucestershire which manufactures high-performance bearings for the aerospace sector.

Phil Burge, SKF’s UK marketing manager, says that the UK has always played an important role in SKF. “Even during the recent economic recession,” he adds, “we have still managed to maintain a strong level of output, which we anticipate will grow in future years as the pace of global recovery picks up. As a result, we anticipate continued investment and development of our UK manufacturing operations."

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