SKF said this week it is reinforcing its commitment to R&D and to the North American market by investing in a new global technical center in the U.S. The center will initially employ approximately 80 engineers within the first four years of operation, with plans to expand to 200 in subsequent years.
SKF plans to build a 130,000-square-foot facility in the greater Chicago area. SKF says the Global Technical Center Americas (GTCA) reinforces its strategy to have technical centers near its important customers to focus on market-specific product innovations, leveraging all of SKF’s five platforms – bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems and services. The new Chicago location joins two centers recently opened in China and India, while two new European centers are under construction, one in Holland and one in Sweden.
“One of SKF’s driving forces is to continue to deliver world-leading research and innovation and to develop products which deliver significant energy savings for our customers,” says Tom Johnstone, SKF president and CEO. “This newest center will strengthen our global network of technical centers that support each of our key regions. The Naperville, Ill.-based R&D center will complement our existing technical center in Plymouth, Mich., and help drive our growth ambitions for the U.S. market. Over the past five years investments of over $2.5 billion have been made by SKF in the U.S. both by building new facilities and the acquisition of the lubrication company Lincoln Industrial and most recently, Kaydon Corp.”
“We have long been recognized as the world technical leader and innovator in our field,” added Poul Jeppesen, president of SKF USA Inc. “The GTCA will bring world-class SKF knowledge and experience closer to our customers in order to increase the speed of delivering new products and solutions to market. Our engineers will be working more closely with our customers in order to solve tomorrow’s engineering problems today, tackling challenges from energy efficiency to reliability and increased productivity. GTCA will also strengthen our connections to the excellent university research work in North America.”
SKF plans to initially invest approximately $30 million, including employing around 80 engineers, during Phase 1, which should be completed within four years. Eventually, SKF states the facility may house up to 200 employees. Construction begins this fall and operations are expected to begin by the end of 2015. Recruitment of the first wave of engineers and technical specialists will begin in September 2014.