Industrial Machinery Business

Expanding in heavy industries
through collaborative R&D and
technical marketing

Assistant Manager,
Wind Turbine & Heavy Industries Technology Department,
Industrial Machinery Bearing Technology Center

Aiming for success in construction machinery to rival our automotive business

As a leader in bearings, NSK’s products can be found in all kinds of machines and equipment. In particular, NSK is a major supplier in the massive global automotive market and commands a large market share. In other industries and sectors where bearings are used, we have a huge opportunity to grow our business by working to catch up to the market leaders. My group is in charge of mobile construction machinery and mining equipment, a key growth sector.

We are well-poised to grow our sales, but in order to expand our track record in new product development, we must move aggressively. If we remain passive, we'll be left behind. I am engaged in proactive technical marketing efforts to uncover the future needs of our customers and win new orders. We participate in exhibitions and hold engineering meetings with component manufacturers who use bearings to facilitate new opportunities in design, development, and production.

In conjunction with these efforts upstream, our team also works in parallel on new design and development. In addition to responding to customer requests for drawings, creating quotations, and conducting design reviews, we work to correct defects from a development perspective.

Interview Photo01

Differentiating our brand with technology that responds to unique market needs

Mobile equipment used in mining/construction, such as power shovels/excavators for digging and extra-large dump trucks, face harsh environments filled with dust, dirt, and mud. These conditions require bearings with extra tough materials that can contend with contaminants. These vehicles must also handle impacts and loads that dwarf those faced by typical automobiles, necessitating high-level design expertise to optimize the rollers and balls used in the bearings.

At the same time, the industry has faced global calls for cost-savings, resulting in the increased use of high-end general-purpose bearings without special specifications. In this challenging market, NSK is focusing on applications suited to specialized products to differentiate itself from the competition.

Such pursuits require advanced technologies, but results so far are promising, thanks to cooperation from other teams and our strong foundation of core technologies in materials, heat treatment, and analysis.

Bearing engineers play a key role in a carbon-free society

Members of the construction machinery group who work in development are actively involved in creating new proposals for the market right from the planning stages. This kind of work is challenging, but rewarding! A single team can carry out all the major bearing development processes—from technical research to specification setting, design, and creation of manufacturing drawings. The biggest thrill in manufacturing comes from identifying those needs, coming up with bearings to address them, and finally seeing them take shape.

New bearing technologies for next-generation construction machinery are gradually emerging thanks to this development culture. One area of focus is technologies to extend the life of bearing components. Longer service life is increasingly important as we work to build a sustainable, carbon-neutral society. With longer-lasting bearings, our customers can enjoy longer periods of stable operation with fewer replacements, helping to reduce their carbon footprint.

Interview Photo02

Using past experience and skills to expand development

Before coming to NSK, I developed hydraulic pumps and motors for small and mid-sized excavators and supported overseas development departments in shifting to mass production. After joining NSK, I was able to witness firsthand NSK's devotion to pursuing and refining "Motion & Control" and the advanced technology that makes this possible. Now, I can see why the company’s wealth of knowledge regarding bearing development and production is regarded as top class in the industry.

I’m also happy to report that my previous experience and skills have not gone to waste! The other engineers treated me with respect as someone with a different development background and welcomed opinions from outside their field of specialty, so I didn’t feel any barriers there. We had many discussions and exchanges that helped us improve our ideas and made high-level proposals that produced results.

I've found that NSK is full of people who listen carefully to the opinions of their colleagues, so I think it’s a great place for mid-career hires to make the most of their strengths from the outset. If you’d like to put to work the skills you’ve developed in your career in the field of bearings, NSK will give you many opportunities to make the most of your creativity and unique perspective!

Message to Prospective Employees

NSK has a diversified business spanning many different industries. As a result, the depth of R&D taking place at NSK gives you valuable exposure to knowledge outside of your specific field of expertise, which can serve as a reference point for your own development efforts. In addition, when issues arise, we share our knowledge across business boundaries, and I feel that there is an unique culture in the way we work together to find solutions. I believe this diverse technological environment is one of the main reasons NSK is successful in creating new products and services. If you are keen to develop your expertise in mechanical engineering by incorporating technologies from other fields while building on your current field of strength, come and join the team at NSK.

Note: Department names and job titles reflect those at the time of the interview.

Interview Photo03