Drives and Controls Magazine
Ball-makers pool their manufacturing plants
Published:  01 June, 2000

Three of the world`s leading bearing industry manufacturers have joined forces to produce chrome steel balls for bearings and other products. The three - Sweden`s SKF, Germany`s FAG and NN Ball and Roller Inc of the US - have transferred their existing chrome ball manufacturing plants to a new joint venture called NN Euroball Aps.

NN has a 54% stake in the new company with SKF and FAG holding 23% each. The new company will take over SKF`s Pinerolo factory in Italy, FAG`s Eltmann plant in Germany, and NN`s site at Kilkenny, Ireland.

The company will employ around 700 people and is expected to have annual sales of some €100m (£60m). Its backers say that the economies of scale involved will enhance competitiveness both in terms of cost and of quality.

SKF`s decision to withdraw from manufacturing its own chrome steel balls in Europe is in line with its strategy of reducing is vertical integration and therefore its total assets. It has a six-year supply agreement with NN Euroball Aps.

• SKF has hived off its online commerce operation,, as a separate business. It says that this will ensure that efforts to use the Internet as a tool to strengthen SKF`s position in the global market are co-ordinated and developed efficiently. Being a stand-alone company will also strengthen`s position as a neutral marketplace for manufacturers other than SKF.