MRO Magazine

Integration of INA and FAG bearing firms completed

A little more than a year after the formal acquisition by Germany's INA Holding Schaeffler KG of FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schaefer AG, which created the world's second-largest bearing manufacturer behind Sweden's SKF, the amalgamation of the two fir...


June 1, 2004
By MRO Magazine

A little more than a year after the formal acquisition by Germany’s INA Holding Schaeffler KG of FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schaefer AG, which created the world’s second-largest bearing manufacturer behind Sweden’s SKF, the amalgamation of the two firms has concluded. INA had launched a hostile takeover bid for FAG back in September 2001.

“The integration of INA’s and FAG’s industrial divisions is complete,” FAG Kugelfischer AG’s new managing board chairman, Robert Schullan, said recently at the Schaeffler Group’s Industrial Division in Haguenau, France.

“In creating this powerful organization we will be able to add significant muscle to our global competitive capabilities, which is characterized by structural changes,” said Dr. Jrgen M. Geiinger, president and CEO of FAG Kugelfischer AG and INA-Holding Schaeffler KG.

Over the past few months, the Schaeffler Group introduced identical organizational structures at INA and FAG. As part of the reorganization, Schullan was appointed to the FAG post on March 1, 2004. Geiinger was the previous FAG managing board chairman before assuming the duties of chairman of the supervisory board of FAG.

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“The reorganization of FAG’s managing board effectively means the completion of the integration process,” said Schullan, who is also executive vice-president of the Schaeffler Group’s Industrial Division and responsible for INA-Schaeffler KG’s industrial business.

But Schullan stressed that the integration of INA’s and FAG’s industrial divisions is more than just a new organization. By transferring know-how between them, the two companies have been able to make further improvements to its products.

“These products and services are available under our joint X-life brand name.” X-life used to be the old FAG brand for a highly specialized product range. These products will continue to be marketed as special bearings or hybrid bearings.

Today though, X-life stands for a comprehensive catalogue product range and is used as an integrated quality offensive.

“On the one hand, the world market is characterized by an intense concentration process and cost pressure from low-cost competitors. X-life manifests our position as a premium supplier. X-life will help us reinforce our strong position in Europe and find new markets and sectors,” said Schullan.

The two rolling bearing manufacturers offer a range of products for a large number of industrial applications in X-life quality, such as single-row angular contact ball bearings, Elges (INA-Schaeffler KG) large spherical plain bearings, and linear technology (roller type and ball type profiled rail units).

There are additional types of rolling bearings as well, including E1 self-aligning roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings with a cage (both FAG), as well as a full complement of cylindrical roller bearings and machined needle roller bearings (both INA).

Little by little, other products and series will follow. Not all products will be changed over to X-life though, said Schullan. Special series and special bearings will not be affected. “We will have X-life bearings only in those cases where it is a good idea, in terms of the sector and the customer.”

A “best-in-class” solution is not always required, he added. “This means that we will suggest that the customer use a lower-performance product or one with shorter life if this is advisable economically.” It all depends on the application. Generally, however, all products will be continuously further developed, he said.

Four group-wide application groups also have been implemented under the reorganization: production machinery, heavy industry, power transmission and rail technology, and consumer products. The sales departments also have been consolidated.

Schullan also wants to use adequate investments in R&D to strengthen the FAG brand. For products, investments will be made in self-aligning roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings and ball bearings, and for applications, in heavy industry and production machinery.

“Our clearly defined goal is to strengthen our market position as a premium manufacturer with excellent systems expertise, to grow profitably and to consistently implement our aim of integrated quality,” he said.