The Journal of Industry and Technology

Industrial Analytical Instrumentation

Euro Technology

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Precision bearings and condition monitoring

NSK´s high speed, low noise Ball
Screw Generation II now even quieter

In response to growing demand for quieter machine shops and factory floors, NSK has developed High Speed and low noise Ball Screw Generation lI, which offers peak noise reduction of at least 6 dBA over conventional ball screws due to an advanced recirculation system. However this was only the first step. Noise caused by the raceway has now also been reduced by Generation II. In combination with increased speed of at least 40%, NSK expects strong demand for Ball Screw Generation II. Indeed, the company anticipates that global sales will hit circa €29 million by 2016. During routine machinery operation, noise emanates from two principal sources: balls rolling inside the recirculation component; and balls rolling along the surfaces of the shaft/nut raceways. Although NSK has manufactured high speed ball screws with reduced ball recirculation noise since 2003, recent years have witnessed the emergence of a new trend led by the growing uptake of more compact, lighter machines. Unfortunately, the inherent design of lighter machines introduces greater potential for resonance and, subsequently, noise.

In conventional ball screws, microscopic waviness is generated on the raceway at a constant pitch. This results in resonance that is delivered into the machine base, structure and covers as unwanted vibration.

NSK´s Ball Screw II has been developed to efficiently and effectively subdue machinery reverberation and raceway noise across the entire range of operating conditions. This welcome effect is achieved largely using innovation in the production process.

In short, Ball Screw Generation II helps set a new standard in lowering the decibel levels emitted by all manner of industrial machines, particularly compact and/or lightweight models. This applies not just to machine tools, but carrier devices, LCD and semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and medical inspection and measurement devices.

NSK in profile
Established almost 100 years ago, NSK (Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese-listed company that has evolved from a regional ball bearing supplier to a roller bearing specialist and automotive supplier with a global market presence. Today, NSK employs more than 30,500 employees in 29 countries. As per March 2014 NSK achieved a turnover of 6,2 billion Euros. This result has been driven by ever-increasing investment in research & development, enabling the company to continuously improve the quality of its products and services. This investment supports NSK´s objective of "No. 1 in Total Quality". In addition to a complete rolling bearing portfolio, NSK develops and manufactures precision components and mechatronic products, as well as systems and components for the automotive industry, including wheel bearing units and electric power-steering systems.

In 1963, NSK´s first European subsidiary, Düsseldorf, Germany, was opened and in 1976, the first European production facility in Peterlee, England. Today, NSK Europe supports pan-European sales with production locations in England, Poland and Germany, logistics centres in the Netherlands, Germany and England and technology centres in Germany, England and Poland. In 1990, NSK purchased the UPI Group including the renowned European bearing manufacturer RHP, with its factory in Newark (UK). Additionally, NSK has developed a comprehensive network of authorised sales distributors. NSK Europe is divided into application-based business divisions: Industry rolling bearing technologies & linear and precision technology (EIBU) as well as bearing modules and steering systems for the automotive industry (EABU & ESBU). In this organisation, NSK Europe's 3,500 employees achieved a turnover of over 900 million Euros as per March 2014.

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NSK Solutions App update adds even more value

NSK has updated its Solutions App to feature information that helps engineers understand the added value that can be achieved through the adoption of NSK bearings and associated services.NSK´s AIP - Added Value Programme, leads the industry in helping customers solve problems and save money as part of a straightforward step-by-step process that is made even easier to understand thanks to the updated Solutions App.

The intuitive App guides users through the journey of how AIP will work for their specific application - in essence, a standardised process for bespoke solutions. By tapping on each stage of a five-step graphical rotating dial, users can discover for themselves the benefits of AIP.

Step 1 on the dial is ´survey´, where NSK engineers survey the plant and collect relevant information for analysis, thus determining the most critical bearing applications in need of action. Step 2 sees NSK experts propose a solution tailored to the application, including recommendations for optimising machine design, as well as opportunities for staff training.In the third step, NSK defines an implementation plan and undertakes a product trial to ensure the objectives can be achieved. Moving forward, the fourth step witnesses a document drawn up that quantifies the actual cost savings both in terms of machine operations and maintenance, while the final step provides an opportunity to repeat the success in other departments within the company.

Users of the updated NSK Solutions App can also explore AIP services in some detail. Here, it is possible to click on four steel balls that represent ´surveys´, ´selection´, ´training´ and ´inspection´, the four pillars that underpin AIP services.

Using a handy navigation bar, App users can drill down level by level, exploring the benefits of each service and reading success stories of relevant companies that have already enjoyed cost advantages and competitive gain. Options are then available to send the information, download it, or request contact from NSK.

The update builds on the NSK Solutions App that was first released in 2014. This helps users identify the root causes of problems and provides a guide to real-world applications where savings have been made. App users can choose between sectors that range from food and beverage to steel production, machine tools and quarrying and mining. It is then possible to investigate solutions based around specific applications or select the prevailing conditions that relate to the users own production site.

Once a specific application has been selected, the App provides relevant detailed success stories, all featuring NSK products. Each application describes the issue that has been solved and provides details of the product solution, along with a figure for the financial savings achieved. The savings take into account a combination of factors such as replacement costs, maintenance costs, consumables and downtime.

Ultimately, the updated App provides an additional window into NSK´s world class AIP programme, demonstrating in transparent and elementary terms its practical application.

Further Apps from NSK are set to follow as the company continues to meet growing market demand for information on the move. After all, engineers are mobile people and engineering is part of an increasingly mobile world. Apps from NSK are part of the company´s unerring commitment to solve problems and save money for customers.

The latest NSK Solutions App, which is available in seven different European languages, can be download free of charge from the iTunes (Apple) and Google Play (Android) stores.

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Refer to page 438

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