History of the Stonehouse factory
The Stonehouse factory has its origins as a subsidiary of the Hoffman Manufacturing Company whose main facility was at Chelmsford in Essex.
In the 1930’s, because of the strategic importance of bearings, it was decided that a facility in Stonehouse should be established out of the range of the Luftwaffe. The Stonehouse site was also a strategic location from an industrial point of view. The site was on the junction of the Great Western Railway, running East to West, and the Midland Railway running North to South, giving good connections to both London, the parent factory in Chelmsford, and the industrial centres of the Midlands.
The Stonehouse factory produced a wide range of bearings, ranging from axleboxes for railway rolling stock, to ultra-miniature bearings for gyroscopes, critical for navigation systems in the days before satellite navigation.
In 1969 the three major British bearing companies, Ransome & Marles, Hoffman and Pollards were brought together by the Government to form RHP and, as a consequence of subsequent rationalisation, Stonehouse lost all commercial bearing manufacture and became the Aerospace Division, concentrating on bearings for aircraft engines, gearboxes, and airframe bearings for various control systems and ancillary items.
In 1990 RHP was purchased by NSK and the Stonehouse factory remained the major aerospace facility within the Group, with only a small facility in Fujisawa in Japan manufacturing mainly for their own domestic market.
In 2002 the factory was acquired by SKF and joined MRC in New York State and Avio in Turin as the aero-engine sub-group within SKF Aero & Steels Division.
Today, the Stonehouse manufacturing facility reports to Automotive and Aerospace within the SKF Group.