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Bearings, power transmission giant moves to 5 000 m2 site
As part of its business strategy to re-engineer and optimise global operations, bearings and mechanical power transmission solutions provider Timken has opened a new facility in Gauteng.

The facility spans almost 5 000 m2 and is home to Timken South Africa’s bearing repair and assembly operations, as well as its sales, customer service and business support teams. Moving the company from its 75-year historical site in Benoni, this modern facility is located in Kempton Park, near OR Tambo International Airport.

This aerotropolis location represents an exciting phase in the evolution of Timken in South Africa, according to the company.

Timken South Africa MD Kevin Holloway explains that the new location provides several logistical advantages as it is close to an international airport, which includes main transport routes. In addition, the facility integrates key service platforms designed to provide rapid and easy engagement with the complete Timken product portfolio, Holloway says.

The key service platforms include a rail bearing assembly operation, where new bearings are assembled for customers across the African continent in accordance with Timken and AAR standards; a rail bearing remanufacturing facility and an Industrial Bearing Services (IBS) facility, where bearings removed from service are put through a comprehensive series of inspection, assessment and repair processes to ensure that customers can extract the full life cycle value from their product investment, saving them time and money. In addition, the repaired and remanufactured bearings passing through these facilities will be returned with Timken warranties, similar to those of new bearings.

Timken Middle East, Africa and Turkey MD Sudesh Kumar highlights the significance of the IBS, noting that it allows Timken to complete repairs locally on the African continent rather than sending damaged bearings to Europe, India or China. In addition to the time and cost savings for the customer, repairing bearings in Africa showcases the company’s drive to maximise localisation.

Additional services at the facility include a specialised measuring and inspection area fitted with state-of-the-art, three-dimensional measuring equipment for incoming components.

In alignment with the company’s unique consultative sales engineering model, the new location features a training facility where Timken South Africa can increase engagement with its customers to provide theoretical and practical training on each of its products, services and systems, which enhances the customer experience.

Technical training can be specifically tailored for customers in heavy industries, such as steel and cement manufacturing, and for the power generation, mining, rail and heavy commercial vehicle industries, Kumar points out. He says the customer benefits of this training come from the deep understanding of these industries and several years of experience Timken has, which can improve equipment uptime and provide better return on assets.

Timken South Africa is also using the relocation as an opportunity to update some of its assembly equipment.

Holloway adds that Timken South Africa closely followed corporate guidance on ‘lean’ principles for the relocation and the designing of the flow of equipment and production lines to enhance efficiency and align with the look and feel of a world-class Timken operation, while improving quality and eliminating waste.