Press Release

NSK Improves Manipulation System for Micro Applications

Practical Application Achieved upon Proof of Testing for Improved Performance

Tokyo, Japan, March 24, 2014 – NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Norio Otsuka) today announced that it has achieved the practical application of a manipulation system for micro applications that features improved performance in terms of compactness, precision and operability for micro- and nano-order-level* applications in the medical, biotechnology and electronic components industries.

* Nano : One billionth of one meter

NSK Improves Manipulation System for Micro Applications

Manipulation system is composed of a microscope and a 3D (XYZ) table equipped with a tool for manipulating microsize test samples such as cellular material. Such systems are very common in the medical, biotechnology, semiconductor and electronics industries. In 2008, NSK developed a high-precision, easy-to-use manipulation system by combining precision positioning drive technology with state-of-the-art image processing technology.

In collaboration with the Central Institute for Experimental Animals (CIEA), NSK was successful in microinsemination of a laboratory animal subject using this manipulation system. NSK was also able to make improvements for increased working efficiency by automating the system and making it more compact. The first model of this improved version will be delivered to the CIEA. Going forward, NSK will work with industries in the biotechnology and precision electronics fields to meet the diverse needs of such industries using advanced technology.

Features of the New Manipulation System

(1) Improved operational efficiency
Working efficiency has been improved thanks to the automation of repetitive operations. The addition of such automation functions makes it possible to reduce the work time needed to perform microinsemination to about two-thirds of that currently needed.
(2) Compact
The electronics and controllers were combined into one unit to achieve unified controls. In doing so, the installation footprint was reduced to about half of that of the conventional product, for improved space savings.
(3) Improved operability
Up until now, the working conditions of the operators has been rather poor, as they were required to perform microoperations while peering through a microscope. In addition, the operators had to be very careful to remain as still as possible so as to avoid transmitting any vibrations to the device. Also, such operators had deal with the additional problem of prepping for and working in cleanrooms, as such equipment is typically installed on clean benches to avoid exposure to dust and microorganisms. The improvements made by NSK this time around make it possible for operators to use a monitor rather than a microscope and even work in remote outside such cleanrooms, thereby making for improved working conditions.
(4) Easier to use with higher precision
NSK has converted many of the operations from manual operation to powered operation, and it has reduced the need for operation handles by implementing easy-to-see buttons. Now, any operation can easily be performed using electronic controls, reducing the dependence on the honed instincts of highly skilled operators.

NSK's Approach to Future Technology

As a manufacturer of mechanical components based on its Motion and Control technologies, NSK has been contributing to the advancement of a variety of industries through the development of mechatronics and mechanical components such as bearings. In recent years NSK has also expanded its development activities into such fields as robotics, sensors and bio-MEMS.

NSK is dedicated to applying its world-class technical capabilities to meet the future, state-of-the-art needs of industries around the world.