MRO Magazine

SKF turns 100

Gothenburg, Sweden -- When SKF was established in February 16, 1907, in Gothenburg, Sweden, it was with an offer no...


February 20, 2007
By MRO Magazine

Gothenburg, Sweden — When SKF was established in February 16, 1907, in Gothenburg, Sweden, it was with an offer not only of a revolutionary new bearing, but also of the technical support and service to get the most value out of it.

One hundred years ago, when Swedish engineer and founder of SKF, Sven Wingquist, invented the self-aligning ball bearing, service was far from a matter of course. Most of the suppliers of mechanical components of these days just sold their products. Then it was up to the customer to learn — often through trial and error — how to put it to use.

However, Wingquist knew that being in the forefront of technology with a keen knowledge of customers’ needs, as well as of offering technical support and service to the customers, would pay off in the long run. And it was also a kind of self-preservation; a badly mounted bearing could give his bearings a bad reputation.

Machinery & Equipment MRO attended SKF’s jubilee celebrations in Gothenburg last week, and will provide a full report on the activities there in the near future. Complete coverage and photographs will appear in MRO’s April 2007 print edition.


Today the notion of service has a much broader meaning. In fact, SKF long ago established a business concept of providing not only products, service and training, but also products specifically developed for comprehensive service purposes.


Two such products are SKF Multilog System and @ptitude Industrial Decision Support System. As a matter of curiosity, both are used by the replica of an East Indiaman, the Swedish Ship Gtheborg, now on its way back to Gothenburg on a two-year expedition to China.

On board there are 28 Multilog sensors mounted on engines, drive shafts and other critical parts of machinery and technical systems. The sensor signals are continuously fed via satellite to a computer at the SKF headquarters in Gothenburg, and analysed by @ptitude. Plain text information is then sent the same way back to the chief engineer on board, in case @ptitude found some problem that could turn into a failure.

A similar system is used on one of the world’s biggest and most modern cruising ships, the Queen Mary 2.

As in 1907, SKFs service offering today is to help customers get optimal value out of their investments. So over a hundred years, there is a straight line combining cutting-edge technology with exact knowledge of customers service needs into knowledge engineering solutions, says Tom Johnstone, president and CEO of SKF.

SKF Group is a knowledge engineering solutions provider for companies all around the globe. SKF is also a global supplier of products, solutions and services in the area of bearings, seals, mechatronics and lubrication systems. The Group’s offer also includes technical support, maintenance services, condition monitoring and training.

For more information on SKFs products and solutions offering, send an e-mail message to or visit