Reduce Bearing Consumption in Wind Power Applications

Are you conscientious about the environment around you?  Good!… so are we.

For over a century, NSK has pledged to develop technology and create products that help reduce our environmental impact.  Products manufactured by NSK focus on four core technologies: tribology, numerical simulation, materials and mechatronics. From R&D and design to production, each NSK product is designed to ensure optimal performance.

Wwind generator turbines in sky

80% of bearing failures are attributed to contaminated environments and poor lubrication.  To combat against bearing failure, NSK has developed a patented heat treatment process to reduce bearing failure that results from these conditions.

The family of Tough Steel products offers solutions across many industries including cement, mining, metals, paper, and wind energy.  Lab analysis has proven that anti-white structure-tough steel (AWS-TF) lasts 7 times longer and Super Tough Steel (STF) lasts 4 times longer than through hardened steel against white etch cracking.

NSK Tough Steel Comparison

tough steel chart

Non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil & natural gas are heavily relied upon within the United States.  As the population rapidly increases, the need for alternative sources of energy continues to increase.  In 2017, Americans used 60,000 megawatts of wind power as a renewable energy resource.    Less than a decade ago, wind power was considered an alternative energy resource-a new technology.  Today, large wind farms are in operation throughout the United States.

As the use of wind turbines increase, the sub-sector of professionals needed to service and maintain machinery within the wind turbine also increases.  Maintenance may need to be performed on the main shaft, gearbox and generators of wind turbines.  These three areas of the turbine rely on bearings to operate efficiently.

Tough Steel bearings are an ideal solution for use within wind turbines.  Utilizing Tough Steel minimizes bearing failure that results from white structure and other debris-related damage providing superior wear and smear resistance.   White structure results from sub-surface formations that develop from exposure to changing weather conditions.   The use of Tough Steel resists the microstructural changes that cause flakes and axial cracks associated with white structure.

Utilizing this technology helps wind farms reduce maintenance, reduce bearing consumption and optimize wind power as a renewable energy source.

To learn more about NSK bearing solutions for wind power, watch our series on Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr., originally aired via Fox Business on Saturday, July 22 @ 5:00 pm ET.  Click here to access video link.

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Posted in advanced manufacturing, Bearing Repair & Maintenance, Increased Efficiency, Uncategorized, Wind Power | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduce Design Time and Gain Technical Support with NSK Integrated Products

What is integration?

Industrial manufacturing machinery requires components that can work together to achieve a specific function. Integration can be defined as the coordination of processes into an integral whole. Commonly referred to as a ‘one stop solution’, integration significantly reduces investment of time required to manage procurement, assembly and installation. NSK’s experienced staff of Application Engineers can specify what motion control components are needed for an application and provide technical support.

How does NSK offer integration?

NSK manufactures a wide selection of products including ball screws, linear guides, actuators, Robot Modules™, Megatorque™ motors, radial bearings and accessories.  All of these core products can be integrated to deliver a customized solution.

NSK offers four different linear actuator series within its standard product line: Moncarrier™ (MCM and MCH Series), Toughcarrier™ (TCH Series) and Robot Modules™ (MR Series).  Each of these series is available in different size, stroke and payload combinations.  Customers can purchase each component separately or configured into a multi-axis solution. All of these product lines reduce design time and optimize performance.


  • Ball screw, linear ball guide and support units integrated into one structure.
  • Lightweight, compact design.
  • Long-operating life, maintenance-free operation and simple assembly.


  • Ball screw, linear roller guide and support units integrated into one structure.
  • High load capacity and rigidity.
  • Long-operating life, maintenance-free operation and simple assembly.

Robot Module™

  • Complete linear axis high precision systems.
  • Incorporates NSK ball screw, linear guide and Monocarrier™ products.
  • Reduces time and labor costs due to pre-assembled one-axis integration.
  • High rigidity, long life and smooth motion

NSK’s line of precision products can be integrated into one-axis or complex designs.   For example, integrating a ball screw into a motor mount would be considered a one-axis solution; however, designing a multi-axis, stand-alone system would be an example of a complex integration.

Benefits of Choosing to Integrate with NSK

Regardless of the integration level required, each customer will experience the following benefits:

  • Reduces customer design and integration time.
  • Saves customer time to focus on other aspects of the project.
  • Eliminates procurement costs from multiple suppliers.
  • Ensures peace of mind; all integrated products are assembled by trained experts.
  • Maintains ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality standards by routinely auditing components, personnel and assemblies.

To learn more about NSK’s integration capabilities, visit or reference our Integration Capabilities for XY Tables and Precision Linear Motion catalog.

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Posted in advanced manufacturing, Ball Screw Manufacturing, Factory Automation, Increased Efficiency, Linear Guides, Linear Motion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Achieve Optimal Ball Screw Performance in Contaminated Environments

By Zac Knoll, Application Engineer

Ball screws minimize friction torque while maintaining a high level of accuracy.  Dependent on the industry and/or application, the operating conditions vary.  Certain industries may have more risks of contamination, which can pose a challenge for achieving optimal ball screw performance. Adding a seal to the design helps protect the ball nut by minimizing adverse effects related to contamination. Therefore, NSK offers different sealing options to ensure reliable performance even in heavily contaminated environments.  NSK seals are designed with specific features that are available in a variety of shaft sizes to meet specific application needs.

V1 Seal


The V1 seal is a triple wiper seal designed to reduce entry of fine particles.  Its design was developed especially for high-quality machine tools as well as applications requiring protection from fine particle contamination. The V1 seal is used to process highly abrasive dusts like graphite, ceramics, and other sintered materials.  This seal is ideal for medium diameter ball screws (shaft diameters 32-50 mm).

Understanding the Technology behind the V1 Seal

The triple wiper design offers increased sealing protection against the smallest of particles. Each wiper is specifically profiled to the shaft surface of a ball screw in order to prevent entry of fine particle contaminants. The entry rate is less than 7% compared to standard seals.  The use of a V1 seal will increase life expectancy four times as long in comparison to standard labyrinth seal designs.

When combined with a K1™ Lubrication Unit, the V1 Seal is extremely effective. The K1™ lubrication unit offers maintenance-free operation, which eliminates the need to install automatic lubrication systems that require frequent downtime related to maintenance. The K1™ lubricant consists of a porous synthetic resin that contains a large volume of lubricant that dispenses low amounts of oil upon contact with the surface of the ball screw raceway. The combination of NSK’s V1 seal and K1™ lubrication unit provides additional support to the linear drive system enabling smoother motion, lower friction torque, as well as maintenance-free operation.

X1 Seal

X1 Seal 2 rv1

The X1 seal is an innovative step forward in the design of ball screw seals. Similar to the A1 seal, the X1 seal also features pre-packed grease that retains and eliminates grease splatter caused by grease build up on the ball screw shaft. Unlike the A1 seal, the X1 goes two steps further featuring a double seal lip. It features a lip on the seal’s edge located on the outside edge of the ball screw nut.  This seal lip is designed to prevent entry of fine particles such as dust.  Then, inside of the nut is a grease seal lip that prevents the pre-packed grease from escaping.

Understanding the Technology Behind the X1 Seal

X1 Seal 1 rv1

The X1 seal is a dynamic duo; not only does it retain grease, but it also prevents entry of contaminants.  Therefore, the X1 seal is an ideal solution for machine tool applications that require medium diameter ball screws (shaft diameters 32-50 mm).  Machine tools often operate in environments characterized by high levels of dust, debris and coolant.

The X1 design reduces penetration of foreign matter to less than one-thirtieth in comparison to standard seals and retains grease approximately three times better than standard seals.  Low friction torque is maintained in high-speed machine tool operations as a result of the optimized lip section on the edge of the seal.  A special plastic material is used to create low-contact resistance enabling the X1 seal to deliver both low torque and high sealing performance. All of these improvements are critical to achieving longer service life in machine tool applications as well as reducing the environmental impact.

V1 vs X1 Seals

Both V1 and X1 seals are commonly used in machine tool applications requiring medium diameter ball screws (shaft diameters 32-50 mm).  Both seal types reduce, limit and prevent entry of contaminants into the ball screw nut.  The X1 seal retains grease and prevents entry of contaminants with a double lip seal technology whereas the V1 Seal utilizes a triple wiper seal to prevent entry of fine particles.

Regardless of the industry or application, NSK can work with you to recommend the best solution.  Interested in learning more about ball screw seals, contact one of our Application Engineers 1-800-255-4773 or

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Posted in Ball Screw Manufacturing, Ball Screw Seal Technology, Factory Automation, Increased Efficiency, Linear Motion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduce Maintenance Costs with NSK Sealing Options for Ball Screws

By: Zac Knoll, Application Engineer

Proper ball screw lubrication is an essential component to ensure precise operation and long-term product life. Constant lubrication between the ball bearings and raceways are needed for smooth and accurate operation to reduce heat generation and prevent premature ball screw fatigue. Many manufacturers invest in costly centralized lubrication systems to reduce maintenance requirements; however, NSK recommends some alternative solutions.  Special seal designs are available to retain lubrication and reduce the environmental impact.

L1 Seal

L1 seal

The L1 seal is a non-contact seal that is designed to prevent grease from accumulating on the screw shaft surface. No friction loss is generated from the L1 seal due to the non-contact design that prevents direct contact with the shaft. The L1 seal is designed for smaller diameter ball screws (15-32 mm) where a clean operating environment is necessary.  This seal prevents grease splatter in common applications that can be found in semiconductor, food processing and medical industries.

Grease Build-up on Work Station

Ball screws that frequently run to the same end position on the screw shaft have a tendency to push excess grease to this location, which causes the grease to build up over time. At low speeds this can lead to excess grease or dripping that can contaminate the area directly below the ball screw.


Applications using high rotational speeds and high acceleration rates for the ball screw can create grease splatter. As the speed increases, the centrifugal force that is generated by rotating the ball screw shaft causes excess grease to fling off the screw shaft surface and contaminate the surrounding area.  Use of a L1 seal reduces the risk of excess grease when the shaft is in rotation.

A1 Seal

The A1 seal is designed to retain grease for high speed and heavy load applications.  Injection molding and press/clamping machines are common applications that utilize high load ball screws (50 mm diameter and larger) within the machine tool industry.  Grease is pre-packed and retained in the A1 seal eliminating any grease splatter caused by grease build up on the shaft.  Grease build-up is a common disadvantage of centralized lubrication systems. Utilizing an A1 can help your plant reduce costs as well as their environmental impact.

Lubricants with EP additives are commonly used and can withstand high operating pressure.  Use of these additives, however; increases the manufacturing cost of lubricant.  The A1 seal minimizes grease loss which has a positive impact on the overall cost of ownership.  Scheduled maintenance for lubrication intervals can also be decreased by equipping high-load ball screws with an A1 seal option.  The A1 seal is an excellent solution that counteracts premature ball screw failure resulting from insufficient lubrication and minimizes excessive grease discharge that is not optimal for clean-room production environments.

A1 vs L1 Seals

Both A1 and L1 seals help to reduce grease splatter and prevent grease build-up on ball screw shaft’s surface.  Each seal design provides excellent grease retention to reduce maintenance cost and environmental impact.  The L1 seal is optimal for smaller diameter sized ball screws in clean-room environments; whereas the A1 seal was specifically designed for high speed, heavy load applications for larger diameter sized ball screws commonly found in machine tool applications.

Dependent on the industry and application requirements, NSK can work with you to recommend the best solution.  Interested in discussing ball screw seals with one of our Application Engineers, please contact 800-255-4773 or

Continue to get the latest product and industry news related to linear motion at NSK’s Linked-InFacebookTwitter and YouTube channels.



Posted in advanced manufacturing, Ball Screw Manufacturing, Ball Screw Seal Technology, Cost Savings, Factory Automation, Food & Beverage, Increased Efficiency, Linear Motion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K1™ Lubrication Units = Worry-Free Design for Food & Beverage Manufacturing


The food and beverage industry faces many challenges within automation. The industry must adhere to regulations that increasingly become more stringent and limit the materials that can be used for manufacturing.  Food & beverage manufacturers are expected to not only adhere to stringent regulations but also maintain low operating costs and produce quality products in clean facilities with highly contaminated applications.  Many manufacturers have partnered with NSK to help them meet these expectations.

Food Processing

For an automated system to be successful in the field it must be able to stand up to the environment and itself (i.e. internal friction). Two of the leading causes of bearing failure (linear and/or radial) are improper lubrication and contamination. It can be argued that these two factors alone account for at least 80% of bearing failures. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), more than 6% of the Gross National Product is wasted each year due to poor lubrication.  In order to counter this failure mode, lubrication systems and seals can become complex and costly for maintaining equipment.

Without proper lubrication, the costs of downtime, reduced production, additional man-hours for labor and replacement parts will increase. While manual lubrication points on equipment are generally more cost effective to implement, a manual maintenance schedule also adds several variables including accessibility, safety, and the need for maintenance personnel to be properly trained. Lubrication directly affects the life of bearings so it’s very important that all bearings are being lubed with the correct type and volume required. This is a major investment in personnel if it is to be done manually and has room for a lot of error. The option for an automated lubrication system reduces the cost of labor, ensures the correct volume and interval between lubrication; however, the initial investment cost is significant and you are continually pumping money into the machine via lubricant costs. If the equipment was not installed with a lubrication system then it is an even greater expense. Automated lube systems must be inspected regularly to ensure proper functioning.

Lubricants can also be very sensitive to water and other contaminants. Water can break down grease and diminish the lubricity properties. As many companies have seen from experience, once contamination enters the bearing and is caught in the lubricant, it is only a matter of time before the system fails. NSK recommends the use of seals to keep debris out of environments that operate under high contamination. The K1™ lubricant unit is a patented solution from NSK that provides a long-term, maintenance-free solution available on standard NSK linear guides, ball screws, Monocarrier™ actuators and Robot Module products.  Lubrication is applied to the raceway through direct contact also acting to prevent wear on attached NSK high performance seals.  Bakeries, bottle labeling facilities and even cigar plants have all experienced success with NSK K1™ Lubrication Units.

K1 BS & LG copy

The installation of NSK K1™ Lubrication Units and High Performance Seals combats against the two most common bearing failures: poor lubrication and contamination.  The K1™ unit may reduce lubrication consumption to approximately 0.3% of a normal oil lube system in general does not require maintenance for up to 5 years or 10,000 km of travel!

Lubrication Consumption Savings Calculation:         

Other Lube System: 0.375CC/hr x 16hr/day x 340days/year x 5 years x 4 sliders = 40,800cc


 NSK K1: (with initial grease applied at the factory) 30cc x 4 sliders = 120cc

Other benefits of NSK’s K1™ unit include low particle emission, stable dynamic friction, reduced wear, and no lubrication splatter. On top of all of this, the food grade NSK K1 is compliant to USDA: Category H1 (lubricant permitted for use where there is possibility for incidental food contact).

For more information about NSK innovative precision products, visit our website.  And follow us on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to get the latest product and industry news related to bearings and linear motion solutions for food & beverage applications.

Posted in advanced manufacturing, AIP, Bearing Repair & Maintenance, Factory Automation, Food & Beverage, Increased Efficiency, Linear Motion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NSK responds to MRO demand by offering larger size NSK HPS Series Spherical Roller Bearings

Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in June primarily related to vehicle manufacturing and mining sectors experiencing small increases in production.  June was forecasted to only achieve 0.4 percent increase; therefore, economists are hopeful that second half of 2016 will experience continued, gradual growth in production as long as domestic demand for manufacturing stays consistent.  – Wall Street Journal (07/15/16) Sussman, Anna L.

To continue to grow business in these economic conditions, NSK has dedicated their efforts to MRO (maintenance, repair and operation) business for the aftermarket.  At NSK, we stand by our efforts to provide superior products and after-sales service backed by brand-recognized quality, reliability and performance.




In 2004, NSK introduced the HPS Series to the aftermarket with small size spherical roller bearings.  Over the last 12 years, NSK has expanded its product offering to include angular contact ball bearings, deep groove ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings and other bearing types ranging in a maximum size of 400 mm.  Last month NSK announced that the HPS Series Spherical Roller Bearing size range would be expanded to 400-600 mm size range.

Spherical roller bearings are designed for high load capacity, high speeds and suitable for a wide range of applications.  The HPS Series can withstand working in temperatures up to 200°C, operate at 20% higher speeds and achieve two times more bearing life compared to conventional bearings.

NSK Spherical Roller Bearings Success

A cement mill was using a competing spherical roller bearing in their hammer mill application.  Contamination was entering the bearing block, which ultimately led to bearing failure.  Due to contamination, the bearing needed replaced every 4 months.  As a result, the mill was experiencing excessive change outs, lost production and increased maintenance cost.

NSK recommended changing from a standard labyrinth LER seal to a Taconite Seal TER155OS SAF Pillow Block and HPS Spherical Roller Bearing.  This solution increased bearing performance from merely 4 months to over 2 years and saved the cement mill more than $200,000 annually!

Download your copy of this success story for additional information.

Interested in how NSK’s Asset Improvement Program (AIP) can maximize your bearing performance, contact 888-446-5675 or

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Posted in advanced manufacturing, AIP, Bearing Case Study, Bearing Repair & Maintenance, Bearings for Industrial Machinery, Company News, Cost Savings, Increased Efficiency, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NSK Celebrates, Remembers and Fights Back by Relaying!

NSK strongly believes in corporate social responsibility, which means ensuring that all of our corporate activities meet the expectations of all our stakeholders and in doing so also helps ensure sustainable development of society and NSK. At each of the NSK facilities across the globe, our employees strive to live and grow together within the local community.

NSK Americas is committed to this philosophy by raising money annually for the American Cancer Society.  In June, our corporate office located in Ann Arbor, MI and our manufacturing facility located in Franklin, IN participated and raised money for their local Relay for Life events.

NSK Franklin Group


Together the contributions were over $36,000!  Leading up to the event, bake sales, food stands, silent auctions and fun activities including a dunk tank, golf outing, motorcycle ride and bean bag toss championship were all coordinated by NSK staff.  Proceeds from all of these activities went toward Relay for Life.


dunk tank            Ann Arbor Relay

Both Ann Arbor and Franklin were recognized as “Top Teams” for Relay for Life of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti and Relay for Life of Franklin. Thank you to all of our employees who donated their effort, time, and money for this cause.

The American Cancer Society has committed to increase its annual research investment to approximately $240 million by 2021.  The organization currently spends an estimated $120 million per year. The American Cancer Society matched donations dollar-for-dollar throughout the month of June.

Would you like to get involved and volunteer within your own community?  Find out what opportunities are available through the American Cancer Society.  Join the fight against cancer today!


In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, ultimately raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern cancer.  A year later 340 supporters joined the overnight event.  Since those first steps, the Relay for Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.

For more information about Relay for Life, visit here.

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