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Industry News


Launches Solar and Wind Energy Investments

The Timken Company recently announced more than $75 million in capital investments through early 2022 to increase the company’s renewable energy capabilities across its global footprint.

“This has been a breakout year for us in renewable energy markets,” said Richard G. Kyle, Timken president and chief executive officer. “Through both innovation and acquisitions over the last several years, we’ve become a leading supplier and technology partner in wind and solar energy and it’s resulting in record sales and a robust pipeline of opportunities. This latest round of investments represents our confidence in the future growth of our wind and solar business as the world continues to transition to renewable energy sources.”

To serve Timken’s global renewable energy customers, the company has developed an extensive network of engineering and innovation centers and manufacturing facilities located throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Timken will use the announced $75 million investment to:

  • Expand its state-of-the-art and LEED-certified manufacturing facility in Xiangtan, China, where it makes engineered bearings for wind turbines.
  • Continue to scale-up its production capacity at sites in Wuxi, China, and Ploiesti, Romania, where Timken manufactures engineered bearings for wind turbines.
  • Consolidate multiple sites into a new, larger campus in Jiangyin, China, to increase production capacity, broaden the product range and improve productivity for precision drives used in the solar energy market.
  • All of the above investments will include advanced automation and manufacturing technologies.
  • Timken’s wind energy product portfolio includes engineered bearings, lubrication systems, couplings and more.
  • Timken has been active in the wind market for more than 10 years and is now a critical design and manufacturing partner to many of the world’s largest turbine and drive manufacturers.

Timken’s 2018 acquisition of Cone Drive launched the company’s leading position in the solar energy sector. Timken develops and manufactures precision motion control products that provide solar-tracking system positioning for both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) applications.

“Timken is known throughout the world for our ability to solve our customers’ most difficult friction management and power transmission challenges, and that includes deploying our advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies to help produce the world’s most efficient and reliable wind turbines and solar energy systems,” Kyle said. “By continuing to invest and advance our technology, Timken will help the renewable energy industry improve efficiency, reduce cost and promote the growth of solar and wind energy sources.”


Leads Fight Against Counterfeit Bearings with Mobile App

The World Bearing Association (WBA) a non-profit organization serving the public interest, announces the release of a new app, the WBA Bearing Authenticator, to help combat counterfeit bearings. The WBA, its member manufacturers and associations worked with oneIDentity+ to develop the WBA Bearing Authenticator, which is now available on the Google Play and Apple App Store for free download.

The WBA app allows bearing customers, distributors, and customs officials to scan a QR or DMC code on the bearing packaging to identify whether that code is correct and known in the manufacturer’s database.

The WBA and its members have been fighting counterfeit products for years, working with customs officials worldwide to help identify and seize counterfeit products. The WBA is made up of three bearing manufacturing associations: JBIA representing Japanese manufacturers, FEBMA representing European manufacturers, and ABMA representing manufacturers in the United States.

“The app is a proactive approach to help customers and distributors to avoid selling and using counterfeit bearings. Counterfeit bearings pose a significant safety risk to bearing users and their operation, and the WBA is dedicated to making sure that customers are not cheated with counterfeit bearing products,” said Alrik Danielson, president and chief executive officer of AB SKF, and president of the World Bearing Association.

The bearings industry alone loses billions of dollars to counterfeit goods every year. But what is most alarming, is that these counterfeit products can be detrimental to the safety of end users.

How Does it Work?

The WBA Bearing Authenticator app can be downloaded onto any mobile device via the Google Play or Apple App Store. Once downloaded, the WBA Bearing Authenticator app allows the user to scan a QR/DMC code on the bearings packaging. The app gives an indication of authenticity of a given bearing product by checking to see whether the QR/DMC is registered as a valid product code in a participating company’s database and was not checked too many times.

The app then provides an indication of whether the code on the product is a correct code with one of three symbols:

  • A green checkmark if the code is correct and is in the manufacturer’s database;
  • A yellow exclamation point if the code is correct but has been scanned too many times, which indicates that the user should contact the manufacturer to determine authenticity; or
  • A red alarm symbol if the code is incorrect. The red symbol indicates the product is suspected fake and the user should contact the manufacturer for more information.

It is always recommended by the WBA and the manufacturers, that if there is no code, or the authenticity is in question, you should contact the manufacturer to be sure. Customers can easily reach out to the manufacturer directly to ask questions about the authenticity of the product directly through the app. The WBA Bearing Authenticator is currently supported by the leading international manufacturers -- JTEKT (Koyo), NACHI, NTN, NSK, Schaeffler, SKF, and Timken.


Launches E-Commerce Website

In a major announcement that moves the industrial gearmotor manufacturing industry forward, international gearmotors/power transmission manufacturer Bonfiglioli recently launched its new Online Shop. The first of its kind in the power transmission industry, this e-commerce platform allows distributors OEMs and customers to research, configure, and order gearboxes and gearmotors with a variety of payment options and zero barriers to managing orders. Online chat provides live technical product assistance and support. The Shop’s powerful, user-friendly interface allows users to quickly and efficiently:

  • Research product specifications;
  • Configure systems; easy-to-use platform
  • Determine product availability;
  • Updated, real-time shipping and delivery options;
  • Connect with engineering resources;
  • Schedule and manage deliveries;
  • E-payment options
  • Live chat

“The B2B digital commerce market is $12.2 trillion and growing,” said Bonfiglioli North America CEO, Greg Schulte. “We are excited to introduce our new digital platform which is taking our company to the next level. Providing our customers with a true e-commerce experience, the Online Shop is a huge opportunity for our customers, providing accessibility and convenience, along with real-time support. Our product eliminates many supply chain and application engineering inefficiencies. Backed by major investment and facility expansion in the North American market, today’s announcement of the revolutionary Online Shop platform is the next step towards the future of manufacturing in our industry,” said Schulte.

Schulte describes the features and benefits to the customers: “The configuration tool guides the customer in real-time as to which selections have high availability or significant price differences. The customer is in control of the entire process, from beginning to delivery, all without having to speak with a sales or customer service representative. Our staff is available to help at any point through the live chat feature; or we can be reached using traditional means, like phone or email.”

Earlier this year, Bonfiglioli opened its new 75,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space expansion at its North American headquarters. The $5.2 million building expansion nearly doubled the size of the Hebron headquarters facility, meeting the space needs of the growing organization. Bonfiglioli is currently producing four times the volume of business compared to when their North American headquarters opened in Hebron in 2007.

Italian-based Bonfiglioli moved its Northern American headquarters to Northern Kentucky near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in 2007. A geographical logistics powerhouse, the Northern Kentucky/CVG region is within 600 miles of 65% of the United States population; making distribution and commerce ideal for serving the Northern American market.

Since then, the company has grown its North American presence and has more than doubled the number of employees. In recent months, the North American headquarters has shifted its focus from primarily assembly and distribution of gearmotors to manufacturing which improves the supply chain by reducing lead times and provides more responsiveness for North American customers. Serving more industries and applications than any other drive manufacturer, Bonfiglioli North America’s full-service facility has grown steadily over the past 20 years, where the revenue is now 50 times more than it was just 15 year ago. Market sectors include construction, food/beverage/tobacco, packaging, material handling, water treatment, agriculture, earth moving, biogas, drilling, metal processing, recycling, wind, mining, forestry, wood processing, textile, biogas and marine & offshore drilling.

Innovative Rack and Gear

Merges with Avers Machine and Gear

For 25 years, Innovative Rack and Gear, located in Wood Dale, Illinois, has developed a solid reputation for quality and service. The company recently announced that it has become a part of Avers Machine & Gear.

Avers Machine and Gear, located in Schiller Park, Illinois, is a full-service 5-axis machine shop with gear manufacturing capabilities that serves the needs of companies across the United States and around the world.

Innovative Rack and Gear manufactures a wide variety of custom commercial and precision, high quality gear racks for the machine tool, automation, construction, mining, oil, gas, offshore, steel, healthcare, precision instrument, aerospace, and defense industries among others.

“Through the synergies and skilled craftsmen of both world class companies, we will continue to provide the quality gear racks many have come to expect, in addition to a wide variety of gearing and machining capabilities. Uncompromised quality, focused customer service and unrivaled attention to detail will continue to be the cornerstone of the service that we provide to all our customers,” said Zen Cichon, president of Innovative Rack and Gear.


Opens ACU-RITE Technology Education Center

Continuing to emphasize its Customer First initiative during these uncertain times, Heidenhain announces the opening of a new ACU-RITE Technology Education Center in the Chicago suburbs. This new ACU-RITE Technology Education Center (ATEC) is now open with the promise of providing special support to its North American customers and prospects with direct access to see and use all its current popular ACU-RITE machine tool components, as well as the ability to call upon its expert trainers.

Now, by appointment and with safety/cleaning protocols in place, special access can be granted to view and test all ACU-RITE’s full line of current products, including its popular controls, digital readouts (DROs), encoders and accessories as applied to various machine tools in many instances. Machine tools currently hosted at ATEC include ACU-RITE’s three-axis MILLPWRG2 control system on a vertical knee mill and two-axis TURNPWR control on a tool room lathe, all fully functional.

“We understand the importance of supporting North American manufacturing, maybe more so now than ever before,” said John Parker, Heidenhain’s business development manager for the ACU-RITE brand. “We believe it is our job to help machinists best equip their shop with the top tools and tips to move jobs through their systems quickly and most accurately. And ACU-RITE machine tool components and experts are here to help make that happen. ATEC is just one more instrument of support.”

Custom training sessions can now be arranged at ATEC in Schaumburg, IL, as well as private meetings to review product options and discuss specific application needs. Those interested in a visit to this new technology center can contact any of the Heidenhain/ACU-RITE regional sales managers via the ACU-RITE website or Parker for a personal or small group appointment. Standard training sessions are listed on website. Due to current COVID-19, CDC protocols must be followed.


Appoints Lowery as Executive Vice President

Oelheld U.S., Inc. in West Dundee, Illinois, has appointed Steven Lowery as Executive Vice President, effective December 1, 2020. Steven has 30+ years of manufacturing and management experience in the metalworking industry. He will lead the Oelheld U.S. team in providing industry-leading metalworking fluids developed using the latest technology and following the firm’s guiding principle of HUTEC — Human-Technology for Man, Nature and Machine.

Oelheld GmbH has provided innovative fluid technology for more than 130 years by constantly working on setting new standards with our products, developed through research and development in cooperation with universities, machine manufacturers, and customers to always offer the optimal lubricant solutions.

Motion Industries

Announces CEO of the Year Award for Randy Breaux

Motion Industries, Inc. recently announced that Randy Breaux, Motion Industries president, is a 2020 award recipient of CEO of the Year, from the Birmingham Business Journal. The presentation honored winners and finalists — elite leaders from a range of industries — at a virtual event December 3.

The CEO Awards recognize excellence among top executives in the Birmingham metro area for businesses of all sizes. Breaux was named CEO of the Year in the category of Companies with more than 300 Employees.

Breaux has four decades of experience in the industrial manufacturing and distribution markets. Previous to becoming the company’s president in December 2018, he played a key role in setting corporate strategy, key acquisitions, growing supplier relationships, advancing marketing activities and overseeing corporate operations, as executive vice president. He joined Motion Industries in May 2011 following 21 years with ABB/Baldor Electric Company, a leading manufacturer of industrial electric motors, drives, and mechanical power transmission components, based in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Breaux currently serves on several nonprofit boards in the Birmingham area. He has held committee and board positions in numerous industry associations, including past chairperson of the manufacturing council for the Power Transmission Distributors Association.


Launches 3D Modeling and Linear Configurator Tools

NTN Bearing Corporation of America is pleased to announce the launch of three web-based tools for its NTN Automation division. This suite of interactive tools was recently launched to coincide with the roll-out of the new NTN Americas website in January 2021. These all-new NTN Automation tools include a 3D Linear Modeling & Configuration Tool, a Linear Guide Configurator Tool, and a Linear Guide Interchange Tool.

“The development and implementation of these powerful tools is a milestone in the evolution of the NTN Automation business unit,” said Jim Mangan, vice president, NTN Automation, “These three tools represent a major value-add to our customer base as they research, configure and specify components for their custom linear motion systems, and we expect to see increased adoption of these tools as NTN Automation continues to grow.”

The 3D Linear Modeling & Configuration Tool allows users to conduct an in-depth search of linear axis, linear guide, or bushing and shafting components, as well as our AXE series of linear axis modules. This configuration tool guides users to specify options for each component or module as they build a custom solution that fits their specific application.

The article "Industry News" appeared in the February 2021 issue of Power Transmission Engineering.

Innovative Rack and Gear
Motions Industries