Environmentally Friendly Products
Creating Products That Fulfill NSK’s Mission Statement
The NSK Group aims to contribute to a safer, smoother society and help protect the global environment, as indicated in its Mission Statement. To achieve this, we seek to accurately identify the needs of customers and society as a whole and meet them by leveraging our “Four Core Technologies plus One.” These are tribology, materials, numerical simulation, and mechatronics, plus manufacturing engineering. We are working hard to develop environmentally friendly products and technologies based on our Basic Policy for the Development of Environmentally Friendly Products. The more NSK products are used around the world, the more we can help improve the performance of machinery, spur the development of environmentally friendly industries, and reduce the ecological footprint of human society.
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, thus all NSK products contribute to global environmental protection. To contribute further to the environment, NSK has established and currently uses the following two indicators to show the environmental contribution of its products.
Outline of Environmentally Friendly Products
Assessment Indicators for Environmentally Friendly Products (Neco)
To develop environmentally friendly products, we pursue various performance improvements in the areas of energy and resource conservation in a balanced way. However, there are many trade-offs that must be considered in terms of performance, such as efficiency, friction loss, size/weight, and service life. So, when developing NSK products, we use the NSK Eco-efficiency Indicators (Neco), as our own guide in comprehensively and quantitatively evaluating the level of environmental contribution our products make.
The Neco score is a numerical value obtained by dividing the product value V by the environmental impact E. The product value numerator V represents, in numerical form, the degree of improvement of a product in development were an existing product assessed at 1 with regard to assessment parameters that need to be increased to improve product value, such as service life, performance and accuracy. By comparison to an existing NSK product, the environmental impact denominator E represents assessment parameters, such as product weight, power consumption and friction loss, which must be reduced to decrease the environmental impact.
For example, with a bearing, the longer its service life when compared to an existing product, 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.
Developing Environmentally Friendly Products
The NSK Group's products are incorporated into automobiles, industrial equipment, and many other types of machinery, helping to control friction and reduce energy consumption. Leveraging these product characteristics, we develop environmentally friendly products designed specifically to save energy and resources and to provide comfort for end users. We also aim to minimize environmental impact at every stage—from R&D and design to production, usage, and disposal.
CO₂ Emissions Avoided During Use of NSK Products
NSK’s initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions at the product-use stage fall into two categories: direct contributions and indirect contributions. As a result of promoting these efforts, we have achieved 2.34 million tons in fiscal 2021.NSK will contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in society as a whole by aiming to reduce 3 million tons of emissions and more by fisical2026.
Concepts for Products Helping to Avoid CO₂ Emissions During Use
|Examples of contributions to CO₂ reduction
|Direct contributions to CO₂ emissions reduction through individual NSK product performance
|Indirect contributions through CO₂ emissions avoided by incorporating NSK products into customer equipment and facilities
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 is currently formulating 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.
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, a critical component 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. By constantly driving the evolution of bearing technology, we will continue to exceed market expectations.