SKF wants more from other business streams

Seals and lubrication systems will play a greater role.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 15 Feb 2007 Views icon3854 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
SKF wants more from other business streams
SKF India, part of the AB SKF group, is better known as a bearings maker and supplier even though the company also lists seals, lubrications systems, mechatronics and services as part of its product platforms. The reason for this is that bearings account for 90 percent of the business in India.

“My focus is to expand business in other platforms,” said Rakesh Makhija, managing director, SKF India at the sidelines of its technical press day. “I believe our seals business will come to 10-12 percent in the next two to four years, while lubrications systems and services will continue to expand,” he added.

As these other businesses grow, the share of SKF’s bearings business will come down to 75-80 percent over the next three to five years. At present, it has a 30 percent market share in bearings. It also aims to achieve double digit market share in seals over the next two years.

Tom Johnstone, president and CEO, AB SKF, added expansion is underway in India for the bearings and seals business, while more investments will follow in other businesses as well. “In the last 15 months, we have spent Rs 110 crore in India. We have been investing a similar amount for the last few years. Going forward, our investments will remain at this level,” he told Autocar Professional.

India forms four percent of AB SKF’s total sales volume. Johnstone added that SKF India has seen a 25-30 percent growth for the last few years. This is why the group’s India operations will become an increasingly important part of the SKF group. A top priority for AB SKF is to use India for its steel sourcing (see sidebar) as well. Already, its factories in Bangalore and Pune supply bearings and semi-finished components for the SKF group to markets like Sweden and Germany. “It is not significant in terms of the total SKF group but I expect volumes to grow going forward,” Johnstone said.

SKF aims to increase its India business with the addition of new customers, while at the same time working more closely with existing customers and provide them with the solutions they need. One way of doing this is through its Asset Management Systems (AMS). SKF’s AMS provides services designed to increase machine uptime, increase production, reduce maintenance and increase safety aspects of machinery throughout the plant.

Vehicle makers in India are yet to take advantage of this service though. “You have to consider we started this business two years ago with the intensity that it requires. One name I can share with you is Maruti. They are setting up a new training centre, and SKF completely runs the reliability centre for them,” Makhija said.

On the global front, SKF has a number of new developments underway. It leads the technology development in Drive-by-Wire vehicles, having delivered the first Drive-by-Wire car FILO (concept) in 2000. Even though Drive-by-Wire technology is not yet featured in production vehicles, the technology has graduated to cover Steer-by-Wire, Brake-by-Wire etc.
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