A magic potion for machines

In the 1990s, SKF development engineer Magnus Kellström invented a completely new kind of bearing. His ideas are still changing the world, one revolution at a time.

During the 1990s SKF development engineer Magnus Kellström revolutionized the bearing industry with the invention of the Compact Aligning Roller Bearing (CARB), a product that continues to impact diverse sectors globally.

Kellström spent 39 years at SKF, contributing to bearing design evolution. In the late 1960s, he embraced computer aided design, a pioneering move in the industry. His expertise in computer-aided design took him worldwide during the 1970s, aligning with the era’s globalization trend.

Back in Sweden in the 1980s, Kellström worked in SKF’s main center for spherical roller bearings (SRBs). While addressing challenges like heat-induced expansion in machines, he conceived the CARB. This groundbreaking bearing – a fusion of SRB, cylindrical and needle roller bearing features – tackled axial movement and angular misalignment simultaneously.

Despite initial skepticism, Kellström and his team secured R&D funding, leading to the birth of the CARB in the early 1990s. Its unique design, combining flexibility, load capacity and compactness – proved transformative.

The CARB was commercially launched in 1995 and found early success in the paper industry which rapidly expanded into various applications, from metal production to renewable energy. Notably it has played a pivotal role in reducing weight in wind turbines, showcasing its versatility and efficiency.

Today, CARB bearings, benefitting from incremental innovations, are integral to demanding applications, including advanced cruise ship propulsion systems. Kellström’s creation has become synonymous with cutting friction, enhancing machine performance and saving energy.

Retired since 2005, Kellström continues to influence the industry, working part time as a consultant. His dedication to problem-solving and innovation remains evident. The CARB’s success story stands as a testament to Kellström’s vision, highlighting the importance of challenging norms and pursuing unconventional ideas in engineering.

Watch the full video celebrating Magnus Kellström’s life of innovation here: https://www.skf.com/group/career/meet-our-people#cid-619416