Press Release

NSK Introduces Bearings for Competitive Tennis Wheelchairs

Adopted by Top Wheelchair Tennis Players in Japan

NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Toshihiro Uchiyama) today announced that it has delivered bearings specialized for competitive tennis wheelchairs to the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Meguro, Tokyo), commissioned by the High-Performance Support Project at the Japan Sports Agency. A bearing was developed for the auxiliary caster component in order to achieve the ultimate lightweight design and low friction loss that players demand in their wheelchairs. The new bearing has already been adopted by many of the top wheelchair tennis players in Japan.

Wheelchair bearings / NSK's bearings used in caster part/pivot part and wheel

Development Background

With advances in equipment performance, bearing precision demand is on the rise. NSK studied existing bearings used in competitive tennis wheelchairs, gathered information such as speed, load, impact, and acceleration/deceleration at actual competitions and practice sessions, used this to determine optimal bearing specifications, and then developed a prototype. Later, the specifications were further refined to meet requested functions such as lightweight design and low friction loss in order to create just the right “feel" for the players. NSK will continue to pursue the design of “feel," a factor that is so important to many athletic competitors.

NSK is also working hard to apply the knowledge gained in the development of this product to a wide range of wheelchairs, including those for daily use, in order to improve the quality of life of wheelchair users.

Product Features

Conventional competitive wheelchairs use conventional bearings, and were not known for their functionality. Based on the NSK bearing design database with many years of accumulated information, NSK was able to provide a bearing with low friction loss specifications that met the needs of the players. This bearing is able to withstand the shock of intense player movements and rotate smoothly over a long period of time, supporting nimble player movement in all directions-forward and backward, left and right.

As Japan's first bearing manufacturer, NSK has been reducing friction loss for over 100 years. This high-performance bearing is intended for use in world-class competitive equipment which demanding peak performance, to support athletes competing around the world. NSK looks forward to contributing to society by providing top-class technology around the world.