Press Release

NSK Launches Lineup of Bearings with World's First Bioplastic Cage

  • Completed development of bearings adopting world's first bioplastic cage, now available to customers globally.
  • Ideal for fan motors in air conditioners, etc.

Following development of the world's first 100% bioplastic*1 heat-resistant cage, NSK Ltd. has completed development of a lineup of bearings adopting the environmentally friendly cage.

Moving forward NSK will continue to expand use of bioplastics in products with a view to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to creating a carbon neutral society. Compared to conventional plastics made from fossil fuels, use of bioplastics contributes to reducing CO2 emissions. NSK aims to achieve 800 million yen in sales for this product in 2024.

*1: Bioplastics are plastic materials produced from renewable biomass sources (mainly plants).

Bearing with bioplastic cage configured for use in fan motors in air conditioners
Bearing with bioplastic cage configured for use in fan motors in air conditioners

Development Background

Sales of air conditioners are expected to increase due to the growing number of middle-income earners in emerging economies and rising demand for replacement air conditioners with advanced features such as ventilation due to the global pandemic.

Bearings are a key component in the fan motors of air conditioners that pump air into the room. By utilizing environmentally friendly bioplastic cages in these bearings, NSK aims to contribute to the realization of a carbon neutral society.


This represents the world's first 100% bioplastic cage brought to mass market for air conditioner fan motors. Developed using NSK Digital Twin technology to swiftly bring the product to market with an advanced development cycle.

Using digital twin analysis, we were able to evaluate dimensions, shape and deformation, molding defect and errors, and strength to produce a prototype cage of equivalent quality to a conventional cage in a short period of time.

Evaluation results

In addition to high reliability, bearings for air conditioner fan motors are required to be quiet and have low friction. Functional evaluation tests of noise level and friction confirmed that bearings with the bioplastic cage have equivalent performance to conventional plastic cages (see figures below). This determined that it is possible to replace conventional cages with bioplastic cages for bearings in fan motors in air conditioners.

Functional evaluation tests of noise level and friction
1: Noise level
2: Operating life
3: Frictional loss

Product Benefits

Compared to steel cages, plastic cages are lighter, achieve lower friction, and can be designed and manufactured in more advanced, complex shapes. These benefits have led to widespread adoption of plastic cages in small size bearings. NSK's bioplastic cage bearings enable these benefits while additionally contributing to realizing a carbon neutral society.

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.

NSK Vision 2026: Setting the Future in Motion

Contributing to society while growing as a company—NSK will set the future in motion by creating new value beyond the world's expectations.