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By employing a programme of material substitution and longer-life lubrication technology, NSK has achieved significant cost savings for a manufacturer of micro wind turbines.

The manufacturer is also experiencing extended product life, improved reliability and reduced maintenance as a result of replacing mixed-brand bearing products with NSK’s premium-brand bearings and long-life grease.

NSK became involved in the micro wind turbine project because the customer was experiencing problems due to the prohibitive cost of bearings.

The manufacturer was facing a choice: improve the purchasing and manufacturing costs for the project or stop production.

An NSK engineer visited the customer to review the machine design.

This highlighted several areas where unit build cost could be reduced substantially.

Following the visit, a supporting design justification report, plus bearing and grease life calculations were produced.

These underpinned the design cost reductions and promised benefits such as simplified assembly procedures, as well as improvements in overall bearing performance, reliability and bearing life.

The customer acted upon NSK’s recommendations, substituting NSK premium-brand single-row radial ball bearings, where before there had been a selection of mixed-brand products, including single-row radial ball bearings and angular contact bearings.

The NSK bearings are lubricated by NSK’s long-life grease, which is said to deliver a grease life of more than 200,000 hours compared to a grease life of 22,400 hours for the mixed-brand bearing package.

This improvement in grease life has enabled major reductions in maintenance to be achieved, helping to keep the micro turbine in service substantially longer.

The quantification of this improvement, in conjunction with the additional improvements gained from the NSK package, has been calculated by the customer to exceed EUR337,000 (GBP303,000).

NSK’s cost-saving programme looks at all aspects of bearing systems including design, specific problem applications, lubrication and even training issues.

The process often starts with a detailed site survey.

NSK engineers visit a customer’s premises, talk to them and get to understand what the difficulty is.

Data acquired from the visit is subsequently analysed, leading to recommendations for improvements.

These improvements are then quantified in cost terms, demonstrating the level of savings that can be expected by the customer as a result of adopting the solution proposed by NSK.

NSK’S INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM DRIVES INNOVATION..

NSK, a global leader in motion and control products, has developed and continuously upgrades four core technologies: tribology, material engineering, analysis technology and mechatronics, to provide the platform for the company’s innovative product developments. This technology platform provides the basis for the design of NSK’s rolling bearings, automotive components and precision parts. In addition, by integrating these advanced technologies, NSK is able to respond quickly and effectively to customer requirements across all key sectors.

NSK is a driver of new technology developments, with a full line-up of products spanning general industrial, automotive and precision parts industries. These include bearings for mechanical and electrical machinery, IT and aftermarket; innovative automotive products such as electric power steering (EPS) automatic transmission components, steering columns and other steering related products; and precision linear motion components such as linear guides, ballscrews, X-Y tables, mechatronic products and Megatorque motors.

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