Technology Development

Developing production equipment in-house
to improve product performance,
quality, and cost competitiveness

Assistant Manager, Electrical Equipment Group I,
Manufacturing Engineering Center

Continuously improving production
equipment to boost competitiveness

My department is made up of three groups: the first is tasked with the development and design of superfinishing machines used with bearings, the second with the development and design of assembly and inspection equipment, and the third with the development and evaluation of machine prototypes and advanced components. I work in the first group where I'm in charge of electrical design for the grinding machines used to process ball screws and the rings of bearings on which the balls rotate.

As part of NSK’s mission to develop precision processing equipment for its production plants, I design control systems using tags in programmable logic controllers (PLCs). In addition to the high-precision control required for grinding processes, I work to program faster and more accurate controls for handling changeovers — from detaching a component from the processing line after grinding is complete, to setting up for the next part. Grinding precision directly impacts product quality, while shortening processing and transport time translates into huge improvements in production efficiency at the plant.

Our work therefore has a great impact on NSK’s competitiveness by increasing the value, quality, and performance of the products we deliver to customers. I believe that the many requests we receive from our plants show the great trust they have in us. As such, our team takes immense pride in supporting production from the ground up.

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In-house development to solve
ongoing technical challenges at our plants

Typically, manufacturers call on machine tool fabricators and other specialists to help set up their production equipment. Some manufacturers use standard machinery as purchased, while others request machinery vendors to make extensively customized specifications. At NSK however, we generally develop, design, and manufacture our production equipment in-house.

This system allows us to pursue our own production methods and advanced processing technologies to provide upgrades and quickly solve problems. Our advanced development ability and support systems aim to rapidly respond to changing needs on the shop floor. We have to be ready for anything as the equipment orders we recieve from the plants can vary widely–some requests can be met right away while others require technologies that don't even exist yet! We constantly hone our development skills by working closely with plants to identify the cause of product defects and share our knowledge to improve productivity. We also work to implement the latest machining technologies in mass production through collaboration with the Processing Technology Development Department.

That great feeling
when equipment passes the test!

In some cases, increasing production is as simple as tweaking existing equipment or making a few changes on-site. However, most of what we do requires building machines from scratch to solve fundamental issues after careful consideration of specifications and strenuous testing. Developing equipment for the mass production of new products takes time as there are many uncertainties to contend with.

This is why it's crucial for us to collaborate with production managers and operators at the plant. We repeatedly review and discuss where problems lie and what kinds of equipment can help solve them. Sometimes talks can get intense, and it’s tough when we hit a wall. But little by little, these efforts solidify our concept of the type of machine we need to develop. Though we have to make many visits to the plant, by actually visiting the site, we build trust with the staff there. As an example, a colleague at a plant in the UK asked for help with a production issue, and I traveled there to help solve it! We can’t build equipment alone. Rather, we work on development together with our colleagues at the plants.

This is why there’s no better feeling than seeing the new equipment my colleagues and I have worked so hard on finally going live on the production floor!

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A team-oriented environment
where technology and careers grow

My previous job was deeply connected to the automotive industry, and I was dispatched to develop equipment for vibration analysis. As I met with engineers from a range of automotive manufacturers, I resolved to transition to a stable environment at a leading company where I could take time to focus on my work and advance my career.

The main reason I chose NSK was because of its status as a major independent manufacturer with solid management. I also wanted to further my career in creating production equipment that uses PLC and touch panels, and with a work location that suited me, NSK checked all my boxes! I was intrigued by NSK's in-house development and felt I could really get deep into the engineering side of things.

After joining NSK, I was impressed by the company’s technological prowess and open style of internal communication. I’m also extremely pleased with the working environment and benefits. I hope to meet new colleagues who enjoy tackling difficult challenges together as part of a supportive team!

Message to Prospective Employees

I'm especially glad to have joined NSK because we design all of our manufacturing processes in-house and have outstanding capabilities in control technology. I also believe that experiencing a wide range of work, such as the challenge of developing new production lines and deploying equipment to overseas plants, has exposed me to a variety of people and cultures and helped me further develop my skills.
Designing machinery and equipment is not something you can accomplish on your own; you need to be willing to work with your peers to improve your technological skills, and you also need communication skills. If you have the ambition to master control technology and the desire to solve problems together with a diverse range of people, we welcome you to NSK.

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

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