RANDLEMAN, N.C. — The future of century-old bearing maker Timken Co. rests on an old axiom: The sum is greater than its parts.
Examples fill the shelves of a squat, 10-year-old factory here crammed with computerized metalworking machines that stretch and scorch bearings. Take Timken’s cylindrical bearings, which reduce friction in giant dump trucks and industrial windmills. These days, they’re married with flap-like parts that will lubricate moving pieces. Combining the friction and lubrication functions is something Timken’s customers once did. By assuming that task, the company hopes to distinguish itself from its foreign competitors and add enough value to make more money.