SKF deal marks repositioning as service provider

SKF has made the first in a series of acquisitions marking a shift in emphasis from manufacturing to mechanical services.

The purchase of Aberdeen-based Development Engineering International (DEI) makes SKF the biggest player in the UK condition monitoring market.

DEI specialises in the offshore oil and gas industry. SKF believes the consultancy has knowledge applicable to land-based industries, such as steel and paper making. It employs 70 staff and is run by its founder Dr Brian Murray, who will continue to head the operation.

The Swedish-based bearings and seals manufacturer says that its change of strategy is customer driven.

`The days of clients shutting down over the summer to undertake all their maintenance are long gone. They want to do these things in a structured way and be able to predict when maintenance is needed while keeping the plant on-line,’ said Jerry Truman, marketing manager of SKF UK.

The new strategy will involve more acquisitions as the company looks to fill the gaps in its existing service portfolio. It aims to provide a complete lifecycle management service, including the supply of bearings and seals, mechanical services, preventive and predictive maintenance and condition monitoring.

SKF already owns US-based Como, one of the top three hard-wired condition monitoring firms in the world.