ROLLER bearing manufacturer SKF is ’very interested in acquisitions’ at the moment, according to Gottfried Kure, Marketing Director of the Railway Business Unit.

Having acquired bearing reconditioning specialist Rolling Stock Supply & Services in Australia in 2003, the company is looking for similar opportunities to expand.

SKF is realigning its strategic direction to embrace mechatronics. The company can now offer sensor systems which monitor bearing temperatures as well as detect the direction of movement and the rotational speed of wheels for wheelslip and wheelslide protetection equipment.

At the moment it is developing positioning sensors for ETCS. These use a wheel revolution counter and a direction monitoring device, based on a tapered bearing unit with integrated position sensors; this is supplied as a sealed and greased unit ready for mounting. Field trials are understood to be taking place in Italy, where position monitoring is also being developed for the SCMT train control system.

Among other recent SKF products is the BoMo bogie monitoring system developed jointly with Sécheron. This analyses signals from sensors on the bogie to identify critical safety indicators and record operating parameters. SKF is increasingly offering complete packages, such as the axlebridges being supplied to Siemens in Austria for Combino trams.