WEAF Member Spotlight on SKF


27 September 2023


9:30 am - 1:30 pm


SKF (UK) Ltd, 108 Strode Road, Clevedon, BS21 6QQ


Increasing productivity through automation; demystifying the journey

Join us for an exclusive ‘Spotlight on SKF’ to discover how they increased productivity through automation AND saved money!

We take a deep dive into SKFs productivity and look into how they used automation and robotics to overcome tooling issues, HR issues, production issues, plus much more.

Key topics:

  • Automation & robotics on the shop floor within an aerospace environment of high variety and low batch quantities.
  • Looking at ways of using flexible tooling and automation to reduce part specific tooling.
  • How automation can help in meeting high demand with labour shortages.
  • How to engage with a UK Catapult centre vs a specialist automation company.


A factory tour will also be included for this event – SKF will advise on safety-wear nearer the time.



  • Neil Tolson – Business Controller & Catapult Engagement Lead, SKF
  • William Makin – Senior Production Engineer – Automation, SKF
  • Dr. Bilal Ahmad – Associate Professor, University of Warwick
  • Adam Walton – Lead Engineer, University of Warwick
  • Alex Evans – Lead Engineer, University of Warwick


SKF Clevedon:

SKF Aerospace Clevedon occupies a site that covers approximately three acres and employs over 200 people. We specialise in the design and manufacture of self-lubricating PTFE/glass fibre lined bearings for both aerospace and industrial applications. Preferred for the most demanding applications, these bearings offer an exceptional load to mass ratio, combined with excellent resistance to fatigue and wear.

In the aerospace sector, the bearings are widely used in the airframes and flight control systems of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, and in the industrial market in a huge range of applications including mass transit systems, high performance cars, military vehicles, and marine equipment.


SKF Speaker Bios:

Dr. Bilal Ahmad is Associate Professor at WMG, University of Warwick. He received his PhD in Automation Systems and MSc in Mechatronics from Loughborough University, UK. He has over 18 year experience in applied industrial research in the manufacturing sector. His research specialisation areas include developing tools and methods to support lifecycle engineering of cyber-physical production systems, especially focusing design, deployment, validation and connectivity of industrial automation systems. Bilal has worked on a range of high-profile national and international research projects in collaboration with automotive manufacturers, machine builders and control vendors.


Mr Adam Walton – Lead Engineer. Has over 25 years of experience within automated research or research in automation and manufacturing. His expertise focuses on the implementation of automated solutions and special purpose equipment and has experience in pharmaceutical /chemical research, electronics manufacture, automotive, energy storage systems and aerospace. Currently working with SKF in order to replace difficult to automate manual assembly processes (considered by SKF as predominant barriers to full factory automation), His background is that of a Materials Engineer with A masters degree in Artificial Intelligence.


Mr Alex Evans – Lead Engineer. Alex Evans joined WMG as a Project Engineer in 2017 and has since been promoted to Lead Engineer. During this time he has helped to deliver a number of industry collaborative advanced technology automation, digital manufacturing and data collection projects. Having received a BSc in Cybernetics and Control Engineering from the University of Reading in 1993, the early years of his career were spent designing, building and programming embedded microcontroller projects for a variety of customers in scientific and automation industries. A further 10+ years working for a leading HMI manufacturer and 9 years as a self-employed HMI & PLC software engineer enabled him to gain experience with all the leading PLC technologies, across a variety of sectors including automotive, textiles, food, utilities, building automation and energy monitoring.


Neil Tolson – Financial controller within aerospace bearing for 22 years, 15 of which at Clevedon site. For the past 4 years have been working with WMG on an automation project on a key shop floor process.


William Makin – senior production engineer responsible for Project management of automation projects – machine tending, auto warehouse & AGV’s as well as Clevedon process development & machine installation over 25 years.

WEAF Spotlight SKF - Increasing productivity through automation, de-mystifing the journey
WEAF Spotlight SKF - Increasing productivity through automation, de-mystifing the journey
WEAF Spotlight SKF - Increasing productivity through automation, de-mystifing the journey
WEAF Spotlight SKF - Increasing productivity through automation, de-mystifing the journey

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