Roulements - 2017-09-27
Shinkansen 300 Series trains first appeared in 1992, posting a record top speed for commercial operation at 270 km/h (Photo: Sakuragirin | Dreamstime)
No matter how light and compact bearings become, however, safety remains the top priority. Here, NSK leverages its expertise in materials engineering to improve safety performance, a factor matched by the desire to develop bearings capable of withstanding the harshest of operating conditions.
Of course, in the interests of safety and reliability, tough environments will always necessitate effective maintenance programmes, and it is here that NSK has achieved a recent breakthrough. The company has developed the first system in Japan that is capable of detecting abnormalities in bearings, including damage, before reductions in performance or failures occur. The system has already been adopted for conventional railway lines aiming to improve customer’s safety operation and maintenance efficiency.
NSK’s system involves mounting sensors on the bearings so that parameters such as rotational speed, vibration and temperature can be closely monitored. Thanks to the company’s extensive experience, it is possible to compare the information collected with the vast quantities of reference data already gathered by
The system will help facilitate the growing trend of replacing conventional time-based maintenance routines, where bearings are replaced at predefined periods regardless of whether they have an abnormality, to condition-based maintenance, where parts are replaced only when necessary. NSK is now expecting that the system will be adopted to more and more rail cars due to the clear advantages on higher safety and the cost saving that results from longer intervals between maintenance.
Based on such high levels of innovation, it is easy to see why NSK has the biggest market share for railcar bearings in Japan. Moreover, the company’s bearings are being selected by high-speed rail operators around the world – more than 50% of NSK railway bearing sales are today concluded outside Japan.
NSK offers technical capabilities and reliability that began with the Shinkansen 0 Series and have been continually refined for over 50 years. Leveraging these technologies and expertise as a driving force, NSK will continue to support the well-being and safety of society as a whole.
Shinkansen N700 trains entered service in 2007, offering commercial speeds up to 300 km/h (Photo: iStock.com/winhorse)
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