Press Release

NSK's High-Performance Bearings Employed in Hokkaido Shinkansen (Bullet Trains) Wide-Ranging Contribution to Rolling Stock

Wide-Ranging Contribution to Rolling Stock

NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Toshihiro Uchiyama) today announced that its high-performance railway axle bearings have been selected for the new H5 rolling stock of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line, which will begin operations in the spring of 2016.

Railway bearings are important safety-critical components that require the highest level of reliability to ensure the safe operation of railways. NSK implements strict quality controls to ensure the quality of these components while also making them more compact and lighter in order to save energy and reduce impact on the environment. NSK is the only bearing maker to have supplied bearings to all types of Japan's Shinkansen rolling stock since the very first Shinkansen, the 0 Series (the first generation), commenced operation in 1964. NSK has an outstanding reputation for its strict quality control and efforts to reduce environmental impact though lighter and more compact designs, and its bearings will help to realize safe and comfortable high-speed travel in the severe conditions of cold and snow in Hokkaido winters.

The new H5 rolling stock of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line
Image provided courtesy of Hokkaido Railway Company

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 main motors.
This product helps to enhance reliability and prevents the occurrence of galvanic corrosion, one of the causes of reduced bearing life.
(3) High-strength cages that have undergone soft nitriding treatment to improve shock resistance are applied to the drive unit bearings.
This product contributes to enhancing the reliability of drive unit bearings, which are subject to significant vibration.
Bearings Selected and Product Features

NSK Bearings for Rolling Stock

Bearings for rolling stock are required to be safe and highly reliable. They must also be compact, lightweight, and able to perform at high speeds. In addition, they must be easy to maintain. In 1916, NSK developed the first ball bearings in Japan, and in 1932, it developed a tapered roller bearing for the Japanese National Railways (JNR) gasoline rolling stock. In this and many other ways, NSK has applied the technical prowess that it is has cultivated over 100 years to support advances in Japanese-made rolling stock, contributing to improved safety, high-speed performance, reliability and energy savings that today have placed the Shinkansen and other Japanese-made rolling stock in a world-leading position. Furthermore, in 2012, NSK developed Japan's first passenger train car axle sensor bearing and made other such technical advances.

NSK has the highest market share of railway bearings in Japan and has been expanding his business in China, Europe and Southeast Asia. NSK will continue to develop its business globally for railway bearings and will continue to help make trains even more environmentally friendly.