125 Years of Bearing Leadership

Through more than 125 years of bearings leadership, one major factor in Timken’s longevity is simply an ability to adapt as the world changes. The company stays strong by investing in new technologies and markets — building on core strengths while exploring opportunities in adjacent spaces.

“It’s about creating a balance as new trends emerge and customer needs change,” says Andreas Roellgen, Timken executive vice president and president of engineered bearings.

Photgraph of Andreas Roellgen, Timken executive vice president and president of engineered bearings, standing near a stairway.“It’s about creating a balance as new trends emerge and customer needs change.”

Andreas Roellgen
Timken Executive Vice President and President of Engineered Bearings

vertical space added

vertical space added

Acquisitions have been important to that strategy over the past two decades as Timken expanded to include industrial motion brands, such as Rollon, Groeneveld-BEKA, Cone Drive, and Philadelphia Gear. These brands give Timken a strong presence in emerging and growing industries, such as food production, automation and renewable energy.

Four acquisitions since November 2022, however, came from the bearing space, where Timken already holds considerable knowledge and leadership. Each of the four — GGB, Nadella Group, American Roller Bearings (ARB), and Innovative Mechanical Solutions (iMECH) — brings something new to Timken’s bearing customers.

Product synchronicities

GGB and Timken have a lot in common. Founded the same year, 1899, GGB is known for plain bearings, specializing in polymer and non-metallic friction technologies.

The two companies have supported many of the same industries: In automotive, GGB plays on the chassis side rather than the power train. In aerospace, GGB covers landing gear struts and joints, while Timken supplies wheel bearings. They also played complementary roles on the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars.

Combining Timken and GGB expands customer offerings in lighter industries where automation is a significant factor. Manufacturing, food and beverage, and online retail all depend increasingly on conveyor systems, which rely on GGB® plain bearings along with Timken® mounted bearings.

Nadella Group, a leading European manufacturer in the linear motion space, joined Timken in April 2023. Although the acquisition was driven by Timken’s continued linear motion expansion, Nadella’s leadership in needle roller bearings, since its founding, also supports the bearing business. “Our global distribution customers have been requesting this product line,” says Roellgen.

ARB and iMECH are regional companies that present global opportunities for Timken customers. ARB, a U.S.-based industrial bearings manufacturer, offers an expanded range of cylindrical roller bearings for familiar Timken markets such as metals, energy, steel, and off-highway mining.

iMECH manufactures thrust and radial bearings, specialty coatings and other components, mainly for the energy industry. Its focus on the aftermarket, rather than original equipment manufacturers, presents expansion opportunities for both companies.

Advancing industries

Timken acquisitions are carefully selected to complement, strengthen, and benefit from the history and present-day expertise of Timken research and development (R&D).

GGB brings additional perspective in advanced polymeric materials for solid lubrication for plain bearings – fundamentals that complement Timken’s current array of engineered coatings used on many other premium engineered components.

Nadella’s work developing wave energy technology opens up an exciting new market for Timken, adding to its successes in the renewable energy space.

Photograph of a wave breaking.

iMECH engineers use mud, sand, and water for lubrication and cooling for the bearings in some drilling applications – unconventional technical fundamentals that may extend Timken’s imagination in a broader range of applications.

Conversely, introducing Timken’s R&D expertise can accelerate projects already underway and pave the way for advances that may not have been possible before.

“Timken always brings an influx of investment to the core activities that the acquired company’s employees and customers value most,” says Roellgen. “For them, adapting to a changing world means celebrating the power of Timken to bolster and supercharge that work.”

Learn more about Timken’s investments in adjacent product lines like lubrication systems and linear motion.