The SNR story begins in Oerlikon, Switzerland, where Jacques Schmidt made the first rings and balls of the future tempered steel bearings. He named his company SRO (S for Schmidt; R for Roost, his wife’s surname; and O for Oerlikon) and, in 1894, registered his SRO ball bearing patent and made SRO the only ball bearing supplier in France.
SRO opened a factory in Annecy, France to supply the French military aeronautic industry during WWI. In the 1920’s, SRO built three new facilities to meet increasing demand for ball and roller bearings, thrust bearings, and bearing blocks. Automation of production boosted productivity throughout the 1930’s, and, by the eve of WWII, SRO had nearly 1,300 employees and produced 1.5 million bearings annually.
After WWII, the Annecy factory was sold to Renault National State controlled factories, and SNR was created in 1946.
Throughout the next few decades, the French industry flourished, particularly in the automotive sector, and SNR’s production jumped to 80,000 bearings per day. Five more plants were built throughout Europe between 1960 and 1972, adding to SNR’s booming production. By the mid-1970’s, SNR employed more than 3,000 workers and production reached 200,000 bearings per day.
Facing increased competition and a changing landscape, SNR focused its efforts on quality and, in 1990, became the first bearing manufacturer to obtain ISO-9001 certification. In 1997, SNR’s ASB© bearing was awarded the first innovation prize at the Equip Auto Show. The commercial success that followed the award has now made ASB© a world standard.
In 2006, SNR entered into an agreement with NTN that would gradually increase NTN’s ownership of SNR to 80% by 2010. This partnership allowed SNR to expand its business around the world while relying on NTN’s internationally renowned Research and Development capabilities. It also increased NTN’s market share in Europe, and gave the company access to SNR’s industry-leading spherical roller bearings and aerospace expertise.
The acquisition of SNR has made NTN the third largest bearing manufacturer in the world.