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Powering Growth with Emerging Technology [Nov 2011]

Powering Growth with Emerging Technology“With resources dedicated to studying, developing and implementing next generation manufacturing processes and technologies, we’re able to support new product growth and performance value for our customers”, said Ajay Das, Managing Director of Timken India
Being a leading manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels and related components and assemblies for years, how has the journey been so far?The Timken Company began where traditional success stories usually end, at the conclusion of a long and profitable career. This was when Henry Timken, a visionary and innovator patented a tapered roller bearing. The next year, in 1899, he formed a company to produce his new product, establishing a bedrock value – innovation – that continues to drive Timken today. Henry solved a problem that had plagued carriage builders for many years – that is how to transport heavy loads while expending less energy and experiencing fewer breakdowns. Henry’s tapered roller bearing was the key; it could sustain forces from all directions, making turning much easier even under great weight. Henry was able to showcase the new bearing’s potential when his two sons outfitted a freight wagon with the innovation, then hauled exceptionally heavy cargo to the railroad station.
To this day we pursue Henry Timken’s vision of energy-saving possibilities by applying our expertise in friction management and power transmission to solve new problems.
Our products and services enable better performance from customers’ equipment and products, reducing heat and energy consumption, while extending maintenance intervals and system reliability. Timken is where our customers turn for improved efficiency and longer-lasting, safer products that make the world a better place.
At Timken, our customers are at the centre of everything we do and that is reflected in Timken’s vision, which is focused on improving the performance of customers’ applications. While this vision defines the ultimate destination, core values serve as the roadmap to guide our daily decisions for the benefit of all Timken stakeholders.
What are the quality control measures taken into consideration by the company to ensure customers’ satisfaction?Quality is the cornerstone of Timken’s brand promise to customers, and a basic requirement of global competitiveness. Our associates are deeply ingrained in quality processes to ensure that customers receive consistent, excellent quality in all Timken products and services everywhere in the world.
Our commitment to quality preserves the integrity of the Timken brand, not to mention the confidence we’ve built with our customers. That’s why we invest millions of dollars each year in R&D, training and process improvement – to ensure that customers receive consistent quality from Timken products, no matter where in the world they were manufactured.
We’ve taken great care to develop our Timken Worldwide Quality standards, which are executed without exception in every plant that produces Timken products. But in addition to setting our own standards, we’ve also helped define quality in the industry by creating the standards for the American Bearing Manufacturing Association (ABMA) and contributing to the standards set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
Timken’s Measurement of QualityQuality is the cornerstone of Timken’s reputation. The Timken Quality Management System (TQMS) reinforces our quality core value through targeted, disciplined best practices for all levels of the organisation, including both manufacturing and service processes.  TQMS works by protecting the Timken brand and setting clear guidelines for what are acceptable and exceptional levels of quality standards for our associates, customers and suppliers.
Based on ISO 9000, TQMS goes beyond and incorporates the most demanding requirements of our customers and best practices found both inside and outside of Timken. Its 20 modular elements form a common framework for how Timken associates achieve and measure quality. Each module is reviewed annually for continuous improvement, resulting in a constant increase in the minimum expectation of quality performance, with the goal of providing consistent quality, country to country.
With several companies going energy efficient with their products, what is Timken’s contribution towards the environment?Today more than ever, volatile fuel prices, environmental impacts from fossil fuels, and increased global demand for energy drive the need for energy efficiency. Developing new ways to create, transfer and control power can have numerous positive societal impacts, from improved energy efficiency that saves businesses and consumers money to reduced emissions that help sustain our environment. Timken’s products and services are fundamental to improving efficiency and reliability in rotating machinery.
Fuel-efficient bearings for vehiclesTimken’s fuel-efficient bearings for cars, trucks and other vehicles reduce power consumption by 30 per cent and improve fuel economy by as much as 2 per cent over traditional bearings. If all cars and light trucks in the US used our energy-saving bearings, each year 14 million fewer barrels of petroleum would be consumed and 230,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated.
Fuel efficiency in rail transportWhen we set the standard for rail transit in the 1930s with the Timken AP™ tapered roller bearing, our predecessors could not have imagined the advancements we are driving today. Our low-torque designs and innovative lubrication technology deliver fuel-efficiency in freight, locomotive, passenger, tram and high-speed operations around the world.
As an organisation, we are committed to reducing and, where feasible, eliminating negative environmental impacts associated with our operations and products. We are working to reduce energy consumption across the organisation, which improves both our environmental footprint and our global competitiveness.
Timken develops technology that enables customers’ products to perform in a faster, smoother and efficient manner, could you tell us about the features that make the products perform in an efficient way?Each day, Timken engineers analyse customer application problems and develop new ways to solve them. We have nearly a century of experience in materials science and steelmaking, and an even longer history in friction management. We use technical know-how to move customers toward improved performance.
Timken invests in technology development which results in cleaner and stronger materials. Our engineers drive technology in many markets, producing new and better products that demonstrate superior performance in high stress conditions. Whether we need to develop new material specifications, or help solve a customer processing problem, our advanced material engineers are among the most knowledgeable in the industry.
Our expertise in advanced material conversion, finishing, gaging and assembly ensures high quality production of every Timken-made product. With resources dedicated to studying, developing and implementing next generation manufacturing processes and technologies, we’re able to support new product growth and performance value for our customers.
Our teams of engineers and scientists around the world are dedicated to using everything they know about friction management and power transmission to improve our customers’ performance. Our engineers not only increase the reliability of Timken® products but also create designs that can set new performance standards. We refine processes and recommend improvements to enhance performance and improve value.
Tell us about the recent advancements in terms of technology the company has undertaken?From Ploeisti in Romania to Bangalore in India and beyond, Timken operates 9 technology and engineering centres dedicated to developing solutions for our customers’ toughest application problems. Our technical and engineering centre focus on specific products, materials and processes and concentrate on emerging technologies that span across a variety of industries and applications. Aligned with our business units, our technology and engineering centres are market driven, helping customers improve their products by enhancing the effectiveness of our products.
New product development forms the core of innovation at the Timken Technology Centre in Bangalore, one among four across the globe. Since operations started at this centre we have helped numerous customers locally and globally by developing products, services and providing technical support to help their equipment and applications perform better and more efficiently. The technology centre has successfully filed four patents for Ball Bearing/Wide Inner Ring (WIR) Housed Units’ designs. This facility is also a Centre of Excellence for comprehensive testing and analysis of all Wide Inner Ring Housed Units that Timken has developed.
The Bangalore Timken Technology Centre was instrumental in developing the Shaft Guarding Technology. It replaced a decades-old practice that has long haunted maintenance mechanics. The standard practice for locking a turning shaft so it wouldn’t slip within a bearing housed unit was to tighten a setscrew or two through the bearing inner ring and let it turn. But, after many hours and revolutions, the screws would dig into the shaft or groove, raising the metal or corroding the surface. Eventually, the screws would lose their grip and the shaft began to slip and the process would come to a halt. This would put the machinery out of commission until the bearing can be cut or pressed off the damaged shaft and replaced. Timken’s new Shaft Guarding Technology revolutionised this process. Timken housed units are the only ones that feature Shaft Guarding Technology, our patented setscrew locking system that takes the pressure off the shaft and transfers it to a hardened stainless steel band. By eliminating direct shaft-screw contact, this new, easy-to-use technology helps protect the shaft against gouging, raised metal and corrosion that can lead to expensive shaft replacement.
It also makes removal much quicker and safer, without the need for cutting tools or torches. This technology is being used across a host of industries and customers globally including textile, food & beverage markets, printing press, and fan & blower markets. The technology centre in Bangalore also has the only rail test facility in India, perhaps in all of Asia, that is accredited to the stringent ISO 17025 standards. This will significantly increase application engineering services to our customers across the world and also reaffirms our commitment to rail customers in India, as they continue with their efforts for technological advancement.
Would you like to discuss your expansion plans?Around a year back, the Board of Directors of the Company had approved a plan to expand its tapered roller bearing manufacturing capacity in India by approximate 2.4 million races of up to 8 inch tapered roller bearings per annum in view of the growing demand in construction, other off-highway vehicles, heavy trucks and other commercial transportation systems both in India and globally. The commercial production from this capacity addition started in the second quarter of 2011. This project required an estimated investment of `360 million (equivalent to approximately US$ 8 million) by Timken India.
As Indian infrastructure develops and the industry modernises, we see tremendous opportunities opening up for the bearings industry. As we move forward customers will look for better and cleaner technologies and more value added services like maintenance of equipment, reliability monitoring, remanufacturing that keep their equipment running longer and more efficiently. The companies should be in an excellent position to provide their discerning customers with the best in industry end-to-end solutions that are designed to aftermarket services.

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