Environmentally Friendly Products

Manufacturing Philosophy

Aiming to Contribute to a Smoother, Safer Society and Help Protect the Global Environment through Product Manufacturing

The NSK Group strives to contribute to a safer, smoother society and help protect the global environment, as indicated in its Mission Statement. To achieve this, NSK is developing environmentally friendly products and technologies in line with our "Basic Policy for the Development of Environmentally Friendly Products" by making full use of our Four Core Technologies plus One: tribology, materials, numerical simulation and mechatronics, plus manufacturing engineering. The more NSK products are used around the world, the more we can help improve the performance of machinery and spur the development of environmentally friendly industry. Furthermore, by deploying and providing our condition monitoring system (CMS) and related services, we will create more value over the product lifecycle and reduce the ecological footprint of society as a whole.

Basic Policy for the Development of Environmentally Friendly Products
Basic Policy for the Development of Environmentally Friendly Products

Indicators for NSK Environmentally Friendly Products

NSK’s products are incorporated into automobiles and industrial machinery to control friction and reduce energy consumption. This leads to lower environmental impact, for instance by reducing customers’ CO2 emissions when “utilizing” the products. We have defined two indicators, the NSK Eco-efficiency Indicator (Neco) and avoided CO2 emissions, using them as guides in our efforts to maximize the environmental contribution of our products.

Indicators for NSK Environmentally Friendly Products
NSK Eco-efficiency Indicator (Neco)

NSK has introduced the Neco score as a unique quantitative metric to comprehensively evaluate environmental contributions at the product development stage.

The Neco score is a numerical value obtained by dividing the product value V by the environmental impact E, which represents in numerical form the degree of improvement over the conventional product with a value of 1. The numerator, product value V, represents parameters that should be improved, such as service life, accuracy, and allowable rotation speed. The denominator, environmental impact E, represents assessment parameters that should be reduced, such as product weight, power consumption, and frictional loss. The larger the product value V and the smaller the environmental impact E, the larger the Neco score, indicating a more environmentally friendly product.

For example, with a bearing, the longer its service life when compared to an existing products, the better its ability to withstand high-speed rotation, the lighter and more compact that bearing is, and the lower the friction loss, the higher its Neco value will be, and that bearing will be assessed as an environmentally friendly product. We are working to develop new products with a Neco score of 1.2 or higher.

Assessment Indicators for Environmentally Friendly Products (Neco)
Avoided CO₂ Emissions

NSK’s initiatives to avoid CO2 emissions in the “utilize” stage fall into two categories: direct contributions and indirect contributions. In FY2022, total avoided emissions in both categories were 2.29 million tons. NSK will continue to strengthen these initiatives with the aim of delivering over 3 million tons of avoided emissions by FY2026, thereby contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions across society as a whole.

Concepts for Products Helping to Avoid CO₂ Emissions at the “Utilize” stage
CategoryContribution concept
Examples of contributions to CO₂ reduction
Direct ContributionsDirect contributions to CO₂ emissions reduction through individual NSK product performance
  • Reducing friction loss
  • Downsizing through longer life
  • Smaller size and less weight
Indirect ContributionsIndirect contributions through CO₂ emissions avoided by incorporating NSK products into customer equipment and facilities
  • Responding to the shift from hydraulics to electrification
  • Responding to the spread of renewable energies
  • Developing new environmentally friendly products
Direct Contributions

In this area, NSK products contribute directly to reducing energy loss in machinery. We continually strive to improve the base performance of our existing products, for instance by developing bearings that reduce even more friction. This contribution is calculated using the formula shown below.

CO2 emissions avoided (product basis)= ΔPCO2 × Annual uptime × Duration of use × Product sales volume
ΔPCO2: CO2 emissions avoided per unit of time product is used (CO2/hour)
Annual uptime: Time a product is in operation per year (hours/year)
Duration of use: How long a product is used (years)
Product sales volume: Sales volume of the product in the fiscal year

Note: The Japan Bearing Industry Association formulated guidelines.

Example: Low Friction Hub Unit Bearings

Hub unit bearings are often used in harsh environments in the field. So they must be equipped with seals to prevent mud and water from getting inside. In order to achieve low friction, therefore, we must reduce friction not only inside the bearing but with the seals. In general, there are trade-offs between low friction and bearing function (durability, rigidity, sealing, etc.). Because of these trade-offs, simply reducing friction can damage the reliability of the bearings in the field.
By optimizing internal bearing design, selecting the optimal grease, and developing low friction seals, NSK has developed a Low Friction Hub Unit Bearing that delivers 25% lower friction while maintaining the field reliability required.

Low friction hub unit bearings
Indirect Contributions

In this area, NSK products contribute indirectly by being incorporated into devices such as wind turbines and electric injection molding machines (which have motorized hydraulics). Guidelines have been established based on the disclosed contribution rate of bearings in the wind power generation field. The contribution is calculated using the formula below.

CO2 emissions avoided (equipment basis)= ΔPCO2 × Annual uptime × Duration of use × Contribution rate × Penetration (sales volume)
ΔPCO2: CO2 emissions avoided per unit of time equipment is used (CO2/hour)
Annual uptime: Time that equipment is in operation per year (hours/year)
Duration of use: How long equipment is used (years)
Contribution rate: Rate of contribution of NSK products to the equipment (%)
Product penetration (sales volume): Penetration (sales volume) of the product in the fiscal year

Example: Bearings for Wind Turbines

NSK provides bearings used in the gearbox that affect the performance of a wind turbine. This contributes to the spread of renewable energy.

Bearings for wind turbines must be exceptionally reliable. Windmills are designed to operate for 20 years, and it is difficult to replace parts if problems occur. This is why advanced computer-based numerical simulation, extensive expertise in materials and heat treatment, and technology for testing and evaluating full-size bearings are required. NSK is a leader in the bearing industry in all of these areas.

Wind turbine bearings
Contributing to a Decarbonized Society

NSK views contributing to a decarbonized society as an opportunity for profitable growth and is focusing on markets that are expected to see growth, particularly in the fields of mobility, renewable energy, and industrial machinery/machine tools. NSK aims to achieve sustainable growth by developing products that leverage its strengths in areas like precision bearings, precision ball screws, and automotive components for electric vehicles and by expanding sales in highly profitable market.

Example: Environmental Contribution through Automotive Electrification

Automotive electrification is indispensable to achieving carbon neutrality. Under MTP2026, NSK has set a new sales promotion plan for electric vehicle components and will seek to differentiate its technology and expand its business by offering a new product, ball screws for electro-hydraulic brake systems.

Strategy and progress of the Automotive Business: NSK Report 2023