SKF in Valenciennes, an Industry 4.0 production line for €5M
SKF is investing €5 million for an Industry 4.0 production line
Impressed by the assets of the Hauts-de-France Region [ testimony], SKF is continuing to develop its Rouvignies site (near Valenciennes). SKF specializes in the production of balls bearings designed primarily for helicopter and aircraft engines. Commissioned in September and inaugurated in early 2019, the new SKF production line for the design of LEAP bearings for Safran is completely automated. Modernizing the production plant has resulted in the use of an Industry 4.0 robot and staff training for a new way of working. “This new line calls for a new job at the site: line supervisor. This required a number of skills to be implemented and clearly identified as part of the Metalworking Joint Qualification Certificate,” explains Gilles Ofcard, Manager at Aerospace Operations Europe.
SKF Aeroengine France in Valenciennes: a showcase of excellence
After making the Valenciennes plant a global center of excellence in 2016 and then a European testing site in 2017, this €5 million is ushering SKF into Industry 4.0. According to Gilles Ofcard, this investment consolidates the group’s investment strategy in France and will allow SKF to improve “productivity, quality, and working conditions” with a goal of 1,100 aircraft equipped yearly by 2020.
Aerospace: a growing sector in Hauts-de-France
Although the automotive and rail sectors still rank highest among Hauts-de-France areas of excellence, aerospace is also well-positioned in the marketplace of mobility. This new investment by SKF is accompanied by other exciting developments in the sector, including recent new sites for Airfoils and Rafaut. Here is further evidence of the Region’s aerospace expertise and opportunity.
The Swedish SKF Group has 103 production sites in 24 countries, including France, and has 46,000 employees (including 3,000 in France). With a worldwide network of approximately 17,000 distributors, the group is a market leader and took in a revenue of €1 billion in 2017. The Rouivignies plant, one of seven SKF production sites in France, has 560 employees and produces 160,000 bearings per year (of which 60% are exported).