There are few automotive component manufacturers who can trace their heritage back 250 years as GKN does to it’s roots as far back as a 1759 as a Welsh steel mill located at Dowlais. At the start of 1900 the promoter, Thomas Guest aligned his business with nut and bolt specialist, Arthur Keen and world leader in bolt manufacture, Nettlefolds and the name GKN was born.
The business grew consistently but in the 1950s there was a period of expansion that saw GKN identify and invest in many different areas of industry, manufacturing and services. Its global interests increased at the same time, with acquisitions and new business launches giving it a strategic base on every continent.
One of the principal areas of growth for GKN was in automotive products. Following the breakthrough innovation of the front-wheel drive Mini in 1959, GKN was able to take advantage of the fast-growing market for constant velocity joints for the new generation of front-wheel drive cars. In 1966 GKN acquires Birfield, a widely diverse group followed by the acquisition included a Uni-Cardan and with this further important patents for constant velocity joints. Since then GKN has remained at the forefront of automotive component and driveline system production, successfully designing and marketing new products that meet the changing needs of the global market.
GKN’s 20th and 21st century growth has seen it extend operations into aerospace, off road and production applications of it’s powdered metal sintering processes.
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