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Industria Automobilistica - 2011-08-15

Ultra-High Speed Large-Diameter Ball Bearings

Bearings help to improve fuel economy and raise power output

NSK Ltd. announced that it has developed large-diameter bearings for motors that are capable of ultra-high-speed rotation exceeding two million dmn1. The new products deliver the fastest rotation speeds of any other ball bearing used for automotive applications, and can be utilized in ultra-high-speed motors to help improve fuel economy and driving performance. NSK is targeting annual net sales of the products of over 30 million EUR by 2015.

Development background 
There is an increasing diversity of hybrid systems aimed at delivering better fuel efficiency and higher motor power output for driving. For hybrid car motors, there is increasing demand for larger diameter bearings, as motors increase in size and with the development of ultra-high-speed motors that deliver higher power output. The large-diameter ball bearings for hybrid car motors have an inner diameter of 160 mm and outer diameter of 190 mm, yet in spite of their size are capable of ultra-high-speed rotation exceeding two million dmn, faster than any other ball bearing used for automotive applications. The new ball bearings will help to improve the fuel efficiency and driving performance of hybrid cars, by enabling drive motors and generators that enhance power output and fuel efficiency in hybrid cars.

Product Features
The superior features of this product, as detailed below, enable it to deliver ultra-high-speed rotation:

1. Carbon fiber reinforced PEEK (Polyaryletherketone) cage
To deal with the tremendous centrifugal force generated by the high-speed rotation of large-diameter bearings, carbon fiber reinforced PEEK is being used for the first time ever as a cage material for automotive bearings, dramatically improving cage durability.

2. Inner ring guide
The use of a crown cage for the ball guide along with the outer diameter of the inner ring as guide surfaces controls vibration and skidding damage resulting from cage runout, dramatically improving bearing durability during super high-speed rotation.

3. Optimized internal design and long life technology
Optimized radial clearance, ball diameter, number of balls, and groove dimensions inside the bearing module control friction and heat generation even under ultra-high-speed rotation, preventing seizure. In addition, the use of heat treatment technology and a material with superior dimensional stability on the inner and outer rings controls age deterioration of dimensions and radial clearance during usage, improving durability.

About NSK
NSK low-torque and high-speed bearings for the specific use in hybrid and electric-vehicles are present in the latest HEV models such as Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt. By leveraging its four core technologies (tribology, materials, analysis, and mechatronics) developed over 90 years of experience, the company is continuing to create products that will improve fuel efficiency and comfort in the next generation vehicles.

1dmn: Bearing diameter × Maximum rotating speed

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