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Business Durham Case Studies

Supporting County Durham businesses.

AKS

AKS Precision Ball Europe Ltd

AKS Precision Ball Europe Ltd has been in Peterlee for 25 years and was one of the first Japanese investments in County Durham. It is the UK subsidiary of Amatsuji Steel Ball Mfg Co. Ltd in Japan, part of NSK Ltd. AKS has plants in the United States, Indonesia, China, Poland and the UK.

NSK was founded as Nippon Seiko Limited Partnership Company in Japan in 1914 with the first bearing production starting in 1916. AKS was founded in 1920. Over time the local European demand for steel balls was so great that a new facility was built in Peterlee in 1989. It supplies the majority of the UK domestic market and meets a significant portion of the huge European demand. The global market for steel balls is 30 billion, AKS in Peterlee manufactures 1.2 billion steel balls per annum.

AKS manufacture steel balls for a number of applications for the automotive industry, NC (numerically controlled) machine tools, home electrical products, and office automation instruments and measuring equipment.

AKS came to Peterlee to be an important partner in the supply chain of NSK. Both AKS and NSK were attracted to County Durham in the North East of England because of the strong manufacturing base, a workforce with good engineering skills and work ethic, the strong network of universities and colleges and a good quality of life with access to affordable homes and transport.

Peterlee is recognised as NSK’s European Centre of Excellence in the manufacture of ball bearings. It manufactures products to the highest precision standards using the most advanced technology and measuring equipment. This helps AKS to be the market leader of precision ball manufacturing, through superior quality, adherence to market standards and underpinned by research and development.

Bill Swanwick, Managing Director of AKS Peterlee remarked, “it is a privilege to work with these people and in this area. There is an honesty and loyalty in their heritage which transcends into a natural pride and passion to deliver”. 

AKS in Peterlee is recognised as a market leader and trusted supplier to a range of prestigious global clients, a quality reputation built over the last 25 years. It plans to provide safe and quality products to our customers for many years to come. AKS and NSK aim to contribute to the well-being and safety of society and to protect the global environment through its innovative technology integrating Motion & Control™. They are guided by their vision as a truly international enterprise, and are working across national boundaries to improve relationships between people throughout the world.

Bill concluded, “AKS has worked with Business Durham for the past 25 years. We have found them to be a trusted partner who has advised the company on a range of national and local initiatives to support our development in Peterlee. Always informative, and always encouraging”.

Simon Goon, Managing Director of Business Durham said of AKS, “AKS is an excellent company in County Durham. It is an innovative and responsive company contributing to the wealth of the County and supporting global companies across Europe. We look forward to continuing to support AKS in the future”.

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