Press Release

NSK Develops Rolling Bearing Injected with World's First Lubricant Grease derived from 100% food-grade ingredients

Environmentally friendly lubricant grease meets highest international standards for safety, registered as NSF category H3 lubricant

Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2013 – NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Norio Otsuka) today announced that it has developed a lubricant grease made from 100% food-grade ingredients, the first of its kind in the world. The grease is registered as an NSF*1 category H3*2 lubricant.
The grease is injected in rolling bearings that have been added to NSK's SPACEA™ Series stainless steel rolling bearings. Samples of the new rolling bearings will be exhibited for the first time at the 26th INTERPHEX JAPAN trade show for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, taking place from July 10–12, 2013 at the Tokyo Big Sight venue in Koto-ku, Tokyo.

*1: National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International is a not-for-profit, independent certification organization based in the United States that is recognized as an international authority in the field of public health and safety.
*2: Category H3 covers lubricants intended for food contact, and are used to prevent rust on trolleys or meat hooks such as used in meat processing plants. H3 lubricants must meet the highest standards for safety, exceeding that of H1 lubricants. Category H1 covers lubricants intended for use where the lubricant may incidentally come in contact with food.

Development background

Strict safety is required for machinery, production facilities, and medical devices that come in contact with foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. There is growing demand today for lubricant greases that meet NSF category H3 standards, which offer greater safety than NSF category H1 lubricants currently widely used in such applications.

NSF category H1 lubricants and greases based on rapeseed oil and other vegetable oils contain many non-food ingredients. These greases can also have performance drawbacks with decreased oxidative stability, resulting in problems with lubricity and durability.

NSK has been meeting diverse needs for lubricant greases used in the food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and medical devices industries. The company has developed a lubricant grease that is registered as an NSF category H3 lubricant and meets the highest standards for safety while realizing the following advantages.

更なる安全性の要求 ⇒ NSF カテゴリーH3対応の潤滑剤が求められる

Product features

1. Lubricant grease meeting the highest international standards for safety
The new grease is entirely made from food-based ingredients including the base oil, thickening agent, and additives. Only ingredients that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are used in the grease, which is registered as an NSF category H3 lubricant.
***: FDA:U. S. Food and Drug Administration
2. High performance
The new grease uses food-grade vegetable oil with excellent heat tolerance as a base oil, while the thickening agent contains food additives with a fine three-dimensional network for good retention of base oil. It is also formulated with ideal food additives that further enhance the durability of the base oil, resulting in a grease that offers better oxidative stability and lower friction loss than existing comparable greases. Used in rolling bearings, the new grease offers less leakage and better durability, even in environments that are exposed to water.
3. Sustainability
The grease is entirely made from ingredients derived from food sources, making it an environmentally friendly, petroleum-free grease. It is also naturally biodegradable and produces no toxic wastes, making it both a non-polluting and sustainable grease.

Product highlights

  1. Grease meeting the strictest international standards for safety
    • Lubricant grease developed by NSK that is registered as an NSF category H3 lubricant
  2. High performance (compared with category H1 lubricants for commercial food processing machinery)
    • One-third of the bearing friction loss (torque)
    • Capable of double high-speed operation
    • Excellent water resistance, achieving one-eighth of normal grease leakage for enhanced durability
  3. Environmental performance
    • Petroleum-free grease with excellent biodegradability

Product benefits

The new grease meets the strictest international standards for safety, and its use in bearings provides an assurance of safety for use in machinery, production facilities, and medical devices that come in contact with foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Compared with existing category H1 lubricants for food processing machinery, NSK's category H3 lubricant offers low friction loss and long life to realize energy savings and improved productivity in a wide range of industries including the food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and medical devices industries. The new grease is environmentally friendly, highly biodegradable, and has a low environmental impact.

NSK is endeavoring to develop highly functional products and expand the SPACEA™ Series of stainless steel rolling bearings to meet the sophisticated demands of a wide range of industries.