Bearing manufacturer NKE Austria GmbH is entering into a strategic partnership with Kugler Bimetal SA, a Swiss producer of bimetallic components and tribological surface finishes. The cooperation was announced at the Hannover Messe in April 2023.
“In the context of this strategic partnership, NKE, and Kugler will cooperate in the development and manufacture of solutions for the wind energy market,” says Matthias Ortner, Managing Director of NKE in Steyr. “Our objective is to work together to provide the best possible offering to meet the increasingly demanding standards for bearing solutions in this segment. This can also be rolled out to other industrial applications. At the same time, NKE and the Fersa Group will assure the essential global framework conditions for accelerating the growth of Kugler and its innovative solutions.”
Headquartered in Le Lignon, Geneva, Kugler Bimetal specializes in solving friction problems. The well-established Swiss company has built its business on meeting the extreme demands that apply not only for components in wind energy but also in aerospace, the transport sector or hydraulic equipment. In a special process developed in-house by Kugler, for example, steel parts are coated with the Kugler Tokat lead and lead-free bronze, enabling them to withstand the harshest conditions.
“For NKE, the partnership means rounding out its product portfolio based on a complementary technology in the form of friction bearing,” says Ortner. “Because in the wind market, we are seeing a clear trend towards ever larger wind turbines, and consequently higher performance classes, which means that the use of friction bearings is attracting more and more attention.” Together with rail transport, wind power is one of the most important sectors for the Steyr-based bearing expert, which shifted its strategic emphasis to these applications about three years ago.
Ortner explains that the cultural aspect was also a factor in the decision to enter into the partnership: “Both companies are premium manufacturers in their respective segments, and both are headquartered in the heart of Europe. We are a technology-driven company, keenly aware of cutting-edge advances, and together with Kugler we will be working on the new product innovations of tomorrow. In this way, NKE is creating another feature that sets it apart from conventional bearing manufacturers and takes another stride toward offering the best bearing solutions in sustainable industries. Through our cooperation with Kugler in the center of Europe, we intend to further consolidate our powerful European presence.”
Besides bearings for wind power and rail vehicles, NKE produces standard and special bearings for all industrial applications. Engineering, product development, production and final processing of components, assembly, quality assurance, logistics, and sales and marketing are centralized at its Steyr headquarters. In addition to product development and application engineering, NKE provides a full range of technical services, consulting, documentation, and training.