SKF South Africa celebrates 110 years

May 2024 News

Established in 1914, SKF South Africa is proudly celebrating its rich 110-year heritage of delivering premium value solutions to customers across southern Africa. As the first SKF subsidiary on the African continent, SKF South Africa, then known as SKEFKO (South Africa) Ball Bearing Company, based in Pritchard Street, Johannesburg, went on to evolve from a bearings and engineering services supplier to develop innovative products and advanced technologies that seamlessly integrate with the digital era and meet the demands of modern day industry.

Today, SKF South Africa leads the southern African market as an OEM supplier of bearings, seals and power transmission and lubrication products, supported by professional mechanical engineering and remanufacturing services. These state-of-the-art product and technology solutions are widely used in nearly 40 market sectors across the region, including mining, materials handling, automotive, solar and wind energy, railways, machine tools, medical, food and beverage, and paper industries.

There have been a number of important developments and milestones during SKF South Africa’s distinguished 110-year history. These include the relocation in 2019 of its Jet Park, Johannesburg headquarters to larger, purpose-built premises, to accommodate future development and growth. The design of the new building, which is also situated in Johannesburg’s prominent Jet Park industrial area, aligns with SKF’s net zero drive; the building’s 383 kWp solar system delivers approximately 30% more than the company’s average needs, with the warehouse, workshops, offices and logistics essentially operating completely off-grid from 8:30 to around 16:30. Being a grid-tied system, energy is not stored in batteries onsite. However, SKF ensures that the excess electricity is not going to waste by feeding it back to the municipality free of charge.

Last year earmarked the launch of SKF’s Circular Economy Centre (previously known as the SKF Solutions Factory) and the TBU Bearing Refurbishment Centre. With the deliberate intention of making a meaningful contribution to sustainability, the Circular Economy Centre comprises an organic collection of SKF services. It houses a combination of quality circular economy product and service solutions, including the Bearing Remanufacturing Centre, project engineering, seal manufacturing services, RecondOil and a range of onsite services.

Machine efficiency and reliability are sustainability game changers. Through the provision of innovative designs, superior quality products, advanced technologies, connected lubrication systems, state-of-the-art condition monitoring, data analytics and machine learning, SKF engineers can increase mean time between failure (MTBF), extend machine longevity, and lower energy consumption for customers.

Reducing, reusing and recycling are key elements of sustainability, and here too SKF South Africa leads the market. Pivotal here is SKF’s specialist Bearing Remanufacturing Centre. Established in 2008, it gives high-value bearings a second, third and even fourth life. Reusing rather than replacing keeps customers’ costs down, and reduces lead times and material consumption. Moreover, bearings not eligible for remanufacture can be recycled to produce new bearings, effectively closing the loop. SKF’s remanufactured bearings and units conform to the same quality specifications as new SKF bearings and units.

SKF South Africa has a competitive edge when it comes to its comprehensive product portfolio of bearings and bearing units, axle boxes, bearing mounting/dismounting equipment, lubrication and condition monitoring solutions for the rail segment. The establishment of the TBU Centre further elevates SKF’s value chain and unlocks the tremendous potential presented of this important transport sector on the African continent.

Along with premium quality product and service solutions, steadfast customers, and a dedicated distributor network, a committed team of employees continues to drive the SKF success story. Since the appointment of its first distributor in 1970, SKF South Africa went on to develop a strategic network of authorised independent industrial distributors along with lubrication, commercial vehicle, and agricultural distributors in South Africa and neighbouring countries in a bid to deliver engineering, product and service solutions to customers’ doorsteps.

SKF invests in long-term customer partnerships, delivering ever more advanced and energy-efficient solutions that support the company’s strong history of optimising the performance, life, reliability and efficiency of customers’ rotating assets.

With an unblemished reputation for excellence in products and services, SKF South Africa looks to the future, keeping in step with market trends and requirements, ready to unpack the African continent’s vast potential. SKF South Africa continues to hone its products, technologies, services, experience, knowledge, capabilities and competencies. In doing so, SKF ensures that it continues its journey of delivering the right solutions that are aligned with a dynamic, rapidly developing industrial and digital landscape to futureproof customers’ operations for competitive edge and ultimate business sustainability.


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