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SKF Establishing Global Technical Center in U.S. to Strengthen Global Network

GÖTEBORG, Sweden—SKF, an international supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems, and services, recently announced that it is continuing its commitment to R&D and to augmenting its North American presence by investing in a new Global Technical Center in the United States. The center will initially employ approximately 80 engineers within the first four years of operation, with plans to expand to 200 in subsequent years, the company announced in a press release.

SKF plans to build a new 130,000-square-foot facility in the greater Chicago area. The Global Technical Center Americas (GTCA) reinforces SKF's strategy to have these centers near its important North American customers to focus on market-specific product innovations, leveraging all of SKF's five platforms—bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems, and services. The Chicago center joins two centers recently opened in China and India, while two new European centers are also 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," said SKF President and CEO Tom Johnstone, in a press release. "This newest center will strengthen our global network of technical centers that support each of our key regions."

The Naperville, Illinois-based R&D center will complement SKF's existing technical center in Plymouth, Mich., and help drive the company's growth ambitions for the U.S. market, Johnstone explained. Over the past five years, SKF has invested more than $2.5 billion within the U.S., both by building new facilities and the acquisition of the lubrication company Lincoln Industrial and, most recently, Kaydon Corporation, he said.

"We have long been recognized as the world technical leader and innovator in our field," stated Poul Jeppesen, president of SKF USA Inc., in the release. "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 approximately 80 engineers, during Step 1, which is expected to be completed within four years. Eventually, the Chicago facility may house up to 200 employees. Construction begins this fall and operations are expected to begin by the end of 2015. As D2P went to press, recruitment of the first wave of engineers and technical specialists was scheduled to have begun.

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