Press Release

High Performance NSK Bearings Adopted in New N700S Shinkansen Bullet Train

NSK technology contributes to world-top-class safety, stability, comfort, and environmental performance.

NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President & CEO: Toshihiro Uchiyama) today announced that its high performance and high functionality bearings have been adopted in the newly developed N700S shinkansen bullet train, which entered service on July 1st, 2020, on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Osaka.

The N700S marks the start of a new era, being the first completely new shinkansen design from the Central Japan Railway Company in 13 years. The new design delivers the ultimate in safety, stability, comfort, and environmental performance.

NSK bearings have been adopted in the driving gear unit (gearbox), axle, and traction motor for their ability to enhance the key areas of safety, stability, comfort, and environmental performance (reducing environmental impact).

High Performance NSK Bearings Adopted in New N700S Shinkansen Bullet Train
1) Driving gear unit bearings

The N700S is the first shinkansen to adopt herringbone gears, which offer increased reliability and lower noise. Driving gear unit bearings are subject to intense shocks and vibrations, so extending bearing life under these severe conditions is a top priority. NSK has been supplying tapered roller bearings for helical gears in shinkansen for decades. Drawing on this experience, NSK specially designed a flanged cylindrical roller bearing that delivers longer life, lower heat generation, and reduces maintenance requirements compared to previous models.

  • Improved seizure resistance by optimizing the design of areas that do not contact the flange face.
  • Adopted high-strength machined-brass cage optimized with NSK's R-pocket technology that reduces internal stress in the cage structure.
2) Axle bearings

NSK further improved on the design of its double-row tapered roller bearings used in the N700 and N700A to deliver even higher reliability and lower maintenance costs. The new design offers longer life, lower heat generation, and other enhancements.

3) Traction motor bearings

Cylindrical roller bearings and deep groove ball bearings with plasma-sprayed ceramic-coated outer rings prevent electrolytic corrosion. This prevents corrosion arising from electricity passing through the inside of the bearing, thereby increasing reliability.

About NSK Railway Products

Bearings for railway applications are vital components that directly impact safe operation and travel. High reliability is key, and new bearings must also support higher speeds, reduce energy consumption, and reduce maintenance burden. The demands placed on railway bearings are especially apparent in shinkansen bullet trains, which transport huge numbers of passengers at high speeds over long distances. This calls for highly efficient and durable bearings, and meticulous quality control in all production processes.

After developing and manufacturing the first bearings in Japan in 1916, NSK went on to develop tapered roller bearings for gasoline vehicles of Japanese National Railways in 1932. Since then NSK has been closely supporting the advancement of the railway industry both in Japan and globally. From the very first shinkansen model, NSK bearings have been trusted for their world-class safety, high-speed performance, high reliability, and efficiency (reduction in energy consumption).

NSK continues to drive technology development in the sector, and developed the first bearing with an embedded sensor in Japan in 2012, and a railcar vibration control actuator in 2018. NSK holds top share in the railway industry in Japan, and NSK products are also adopted and trusted by high-speed rail operators in Europe, China, and other regions.

Compared to alternatives, railway travel is environmental friendly, and is becoming an increasingly important mode of transportation globally. NSK will continue to develop new products supporting current and future needs of the industry.

About NSK

NSK began its journey manufacturing the first bearings in Japan in 1916, and has since developed into a global organization researching, designing, and manufacturing Motion & Control™ solutions essential for mobility and industrial applications. NSK is the top supplier of bearings in Japan and is the third largest supplier in the world by market share.

Our responsive products and technologies enhance automotive performance and industrial productivity while reducing energy consumption to unprecedented low levels. In the early 1960s, we set our sights outside Japan and have established over 200 business locations in 30 countries alongside a vast network of joint ventures and partnerships in all corners of the world.

NSK Corporate Philosophy

NSK contributes to a safer, smoother society and helps protect the global environment through its innovative technology integrating Motion & Control. As a truly international enterprise, we are working across national boundaries to improve relationships between people throughout the world.