How Swede It Is: SKF Opens New Solution Factory

GETTING HIS BEARINGS: Scottish born Tom Johnstone schooled visitors at the opening of the Swedish manufacturing giant SKF’s new factory last week.


TORONTO – – Poor lubrication causes about 36 percent of all bearing failures.  And, the Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite Soccer Team won one of the globe’s most prestigious soccer tournaments this year, The Gothia World Cup, which took place in Sweden in July.  Those were just two of the gems gleaned last week as dignitaries, customers and media toured through the Swedish bearing-and-lube giant SKF’s new Toronto facilities.

In a ceremony starring no less than the Swedish Ambassador to Canada Teppo Tauriainen, the world’s largest bearing manufacturer SKF opened a splashy “Solution Factory” in Toronto Thursday.

This is the 24th such solution factory on the planet; the second in Canada. The first is in Edmonton.

How big is SKF? Try this: Last year they purchased one of the biggest bearing manufacturers in the U.S., Kaydon, for almost $1.5 billion.  Joked Group President and CEO Tom Johnstone at last week’s Toronto opening.  “That deal made our book keeper’s face go white, I have to say that.”

A series of recent purchases has made SKF the world leader in automated lubrications systems. Explained Johnstone:  “We’re in machines everywhere, but you don’t see us or hear us. In fact if you hear us, that’s a problem.

 “We have more than one patent every two days.  My target is two per day.”

Commercial transportation represents about 19 percent of SKF’s business.

“We are proud to open this new facility with 100 employees,” said Joao Ricciarelli, Managing Director of SKF Canada Ltd.

“The solution factory hosts competencies such as machined seals, engineered plastics, remote diagnostic services, training solutions and combines the full range of SKF’s broad expertise with workshop facilities.”

SKF says Solution Factories respond to specific customers’ needs, often on a case-by-case basis. According to SKF, the factories, which are really half lab/half factory,  works to find the answer by assembling a dedicated project team using experts from the company’s five platforms. The application challenge and knowledge applied to create the solution is then shared globally across the network of facilities.”

According to Vartan Vartanian, SKF President Industrial Market Regional Sales and Service, this new Toronto facility’s  “close proximity to the Canadian mining, pulp-and-paper, metals and food-and-beverage industries makes it the perfect location for this facility.”

As for soccer, SKF proudly sponsors the Gothia Cup in Sweden and thanks largely to support from SKF, the Vancouver Whitecaps were able to travel to Sweden in July to compete.

After playing and winning seven matches in five days, the Vancouver women   ultimately met the best Sweden had to offer and shut them out two zip.

Want to read more about SKF? Click here. 

Want to read more about fantastic soccer players? Click here.






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