NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Toshihiro Uchiyama) has received an order for wheelset bearings for TGV high-speed trains as a qualified supplier to SNCF, France's national railway company.
NSK has officially received its first TGV wheelset bearing order from SNCF. Wheelset bearings are a vital component ensuring the safe and smooth operation of TGV trains, which operate at speeds in excess of 320 km/h. The bearings are subject to harsh operating conditions and must be able to withstand an environment with dust, dirt, rain, and snow. Despite these challenges, SNCF demands that the bearings have top-class reliability and lifespan, which is what motivated the company to come to NSK.
Over the course of a five-year project, NSK successfully passed numerous audits of its manufacturing processes and witnessed extensive bench-testing at SNCF facilities prior to initial field testing in 2014. This major step saw 100 bearings fitted to actual TGV trains, where they were closely monitored for over one million kilometers. NSK passed all tests with flying colors, and was designated a qualified supplier by SNCF in November 2016.
NSK has many decades of experience in meeting the needs of rail sector clients. From the very beginning in 1964, the company has supported the development of the Shinkansen bullet train, Japan's groundbreaking innovation in high-speed rail transport. In more recent times, NSK know-how has benefited other high-speed rail operators in Korea and China. This cumulated experience, together with NSK's global reputation as one of the world's major bearing manufacturers, encouraged SNCF to initiate discussions in October 2011.