Linear Motion for a Forward-Focused World

From automation to warehouse logistics, machine tools to medical equipment, many global industries operate premium applications where efficiency is crucial, and the cost of failure is high. With the recent addition of Nadella to its family of brands, Timken expands its leading linear motion portfolio to support the evolving needs of forward-focused customers.

Timken first entered the linear motion market in 2018 when it acquired Rollon, a specialist in linear guides, telescopic rails and linear actuators for challenging industries like robotics and aerospace. Three years later, Timken expanded its linear motion portfolio again with the acquisition of Intelligent Machine Solutions, a manufacturer of seventh axis robotic transfer units (RTUs) and gantry systems for industrial robotics.

Photograph of Rudi Knevels, Rollon Group CEO.“Now, our combined portfolio and market presence are unparalleled. We are part of the Timken global sales and distribution network, with access to customers in all corners of the world. Nadella is one of the best possible acquisitions we could have made.”

Rudi Knevels
CEO, Rollon Group

Adding Nadella products to the portfolio reinforces the position of strength Rollon — and by extension, Timken — already has as a world-leading provider of customized linear motion solutions. It diversifies the product line to more fully serve global customers’ industrial motion needs.

Complete linear motion product line

Nadella is a growing business with 450 employees across Europe, Asia and North America. Its commitment to solving for very demanding niche applications and collaborating closely with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) during their design processes has yielded an impressive list of the world’s top industrial innovators.

Like Rollon, Nadella specializes in linear guides, telescopic rails, actuators and systems and other specialized industrial motion solutions. However, the overlap in product specifications and markets is limited.

“Nadella is strong in rolled ball screws and linear guides used in machine tools, and in linear guides for packaging,” said Rudi Knevels, CEO Rollon Group. “Rollon is stronger in linear actuators, system solutions and telescopic rails for railway, factory automation, aerospace and logistics.”

Nadella also designs and manufacturers motion drive solutions not traditionally offered by Timken or Rollon, like precision ball screws. These extremely efficient mechanical devices translate rotational motion into linear motion in applications like computerized CNC machine tools and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

“Many Rollon customers use ball screws as a drive system for their linear actuators,” Knevels said. “Now we are a single source for both.”

Shuttle system for moving robots and heavy loads for long distances with high dynamics. 
Available in seven different sizes, Rollon Seventh Axis is easy to integrate and can move any type of robot weighing up to 2000 Kg.

Complementary rotational motion solutions

Historically, Timken acquisitions have strengthened either the company’s Industrial Motion portfolio or its Engineered Bearings offering. It’s rare when a newly-acquired company does both. Nadella, which was originally founded 90+ years ago as a needle bearing manufacturer, still specializes in precision needle roller bearings and other rotational motion solutions, like rod ends and clevises.

Needle roller bearings are a standard element of many rotational motion systems in automotive and robotics applications. They act as precision articulating joints where a compact design envelope, high load capacity and high precision are required. Clevises and closely-related ball and axial joints connect control components in mechanical applications where pivoting or rotating motion occurs.

“They fit very well into the Timken product range,” Knevels said.

Nadella AXNR system.

The power of synergy between technical leaders

In the last five years, Nadella strategically grew its manufacturing leadership, engineering capabilities and geographic footprint, making it an excellent candidate for joining Rollon as part of Timken’s larger Industrial Motion group.

According to Knevels, Nadella’s strategic focus on organic and inorganic growth positioned the company to be a much more attractive acquisition for Rollon and Timken.

“Now, our combined portfolio and market presence are unparalleled,” he said. “We are part of the Timken global sales and distribution network, with access to customers in all corners of the world. Nadella is one of the best possible acquisitions we could have made.”

Nadella Linear Motion Products.

Timken’s broad offering of complementary industrial motion products serve a diverse range of markets and customers. Here’s how Timken-acquired brands support future-focused markets with technologies like automated lubrication systems for wind energy and reduction gears and actuators for robotics.