Timken Co’s net income nearly tripled in Q1 on much-higher sales as factories worldwide demanded more of its machine parts and the company passed higher material costs along to its customers.

Results from the frictionless bearings maker, based in Canton, Ohio, helped boost the company’s outlook for 2011.

Timken’s net income for the quarter ended March 31 mushroomed to $112.7M, from $28.6M, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue leaped 37% to $1.25bn from $913.7M a year earlier.

The strongest growth came in the company’s steel segment, thanks to increased sales and price hikes associated with the high cost of raw materials, where revenue rose 78%, to $481.5M from $270.3M. The results were fueled by demand from the oil, gas and industrial markets. About $75M of the increase came from surcharges that Timken tacks on to customer bills when raw material prices increase.

Timken, whose bearings are used in everything from cars and trucks to dentists’ drills, forecast 2011 profit of $3.80-$4.10 a share, up from its prior view of $3.30-$3.60 a share.