The company, founded on Sven Wingqvist’s 1907 Swedish patent No. 25406, a multi-row self-aligning radial ball bearing. The Patent was granted on June 6 in Sweden coinciding with patents in 10 other countries. The new ball bearing was successful from the outset. By 1910, the company had 325 employees and a subsidiary in the United Kingdom. Manufacturing operations were later established in multiple countries.
By 1912, SKF was represented in 32 countries and by 1930, a staff of over 21,000 were employed in 12 manufacturing facilities worldwide. Assar Gabrielsson, SKF sales manager and Björn Prytz, Managing Director of SKF were the founders of Volvo AB in 1926. In the beginning, the company functioned as a subsidiary automobile company within the SKF group. SKF funded the production run of the first thousand cars, built at Hisingen, in Gothenburg, beginning in 1927. SKF used one of the company’s trademarked names: AB Volvo, which derives from the Latin “I roll”, with its obvious connotations of bearings in motion. The ownership of Volvo lasted until 1935 when the last shares were divested.
Today, SKF is the largest bearing manufacturer in the world and employs approximately 40,000 people in approximately 100 manufacturing sites that span 70 countries . Turnover for FY2005 was SEK49,285 million, and total assets were SEK40,349 million. The SKF Group currently consists of approximately 150 companies including the seal manufacturer Chicago Rawhide. Since its founding, SKF’s company headquarters have been located in Gothenburg. One recent acquisition was that of Economos, part of Salzer Holding, an Austria-based seal company, Jaeger Industrial and ABBA, Taiwanese manufacturers of linear actuators.
The company’s clients include General Electric, Rolls-Royce plc and Pratt and Whitney. It also supplies bearings for Ferrari racing vehicles, used in Formula One races , and is a sponsor of F1.
SKF employs a Six Sigma business approach. CEO Mr. Tom Johnstone was recognized as the Premier Six Sigma Leader of the year (2006) in Europe by the International Society of Six Sigma Professionals.
SKF currently sponsors Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
Deep groove ball bearings
Angular contact ball bearings
Cylindrical roller bearings
Combined needle roller bearings
Tapered roller bearings
CARB® toroidal roller bearings
Angular contact thrust ball bearings
Needle roller thrust bearings
Spherical roller thrust bearings
Backing bearings for cluster mills
Self-aligning ball bearings
Needle roller bearings
Combined cylindrical roller/taper roller bearings
Spherical roller bearings
Thrust ball bearings
Cylindrical roller thrust bearings
Tapered roller thrust bearings
Track runner bearings
Indexing roller units
Other SKF rolling bearings