Press Release

The New Series E5 Shinkansen Bullet Trains Rely on NSK's High-Performance Bearings

Further increasing the reliability and contributing to energy-saving of railways

High-Performance Bearings

Tokyo, Japan, April 19, 2012 - NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Norio Otsuka) announced that its high-performance railway axle bearings have been selected for the new Series E5 Shinkansen bullet train reaching speeds up to 300 km/h. NSK bearings were also selected for the traction motors and for the gear units.

Railway bearings are important safety-critical components. They have a direct influence on the safe operation of railways and must comply with the highest safety requirements. While maintaining their reliability, it is important to further reduce their size and make them even more light-weight to save energy and to contribute to the environmentally friendly operation of railways. Shinkansen bullet trains in Japan carry many passengers safely over long distances. The bearings selected for the Shinkansen bullet trains must be highly efficient and durable and must pass strict quality controls.

NSK bearings have supported the progress of the Japanese railway industry from the beginning. Continuous improvements in the areas of safety, high speed, high reliability and energy conservation have placed Japanese railways including the Shinkansen bullet train in a world-leading position. NSK's railway bearings support the further advancement of compactness, light-weight and high speed and can be easily maintained. Today, NSK railway bearings take the top market share in the Japanese market.

Bearings Selected and Product Features:

  1. Oil bath double row cylindrical roller bearings for the axle bearings.
    This product generates little heat in the bearing, enabling high-speed rotation. It also ensures a long service life for the bearing, an important factor for trains that travel long distances.
  2. Ceramic coated insulated bearings with proven safety and lightness for the traction motors.
    This product helps to enhance reliability and prevents the occurrence of electrolytic corrosion, a factor which reduces bearing service life. This type of corrosion is caused by sparking in the bearings of electric motors where electric current flows.
  3. High-strength retainers, with soft nitriding treatment for outstanding shock resistance for gear units.
    This product contributes to enhancing the reliability of traction motor bearings which are subject to significant vibration.

The E5 Shinkansen Bullet Train

The E5 Shinkansen Bullet Train

The E5 Shinkansen Bullet Train (Images provided courtesy of East Japan Railway Company)

NSK will continue to further expand its business for railway bearings and will contribute to making trains even more environmentally friendly.