NSK Ltd. in Ann Arbor Develops Tapered Bearing for Electric Vehicle Transmission Systems

Ann Arbor’s NSK Ltd., a manufacturer of motion and control products, has developed a new tapered roller bearing, the NSK LCube II, for use in electric vehicle transmission systems.
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NSK LCube II tapered roller bearing
NSK Ltd. has developed a tapered roller bearing that requires less lubrication for electric vehicle transmission systems. // Photo courtesy of NSK Ltd.

Ann Arbor’s NSK Ltd., a manufacturer of motion and control products, has developed a new tapered roller bearing, the NSK LCube II, for use in electric vehicle transmission systems.

It increases durability and seizure resistance under severely thin lubrication conditions, contributing to higher fuel economy and decreased electricity consumption.

To improve fuel economy as electric vehicles are developed, there has been a shift to using less lubricant or lower viscosity lubricant in transmission systems. Tapered roller bearings in transmissions are being subject to increasingly severe lubrication conditions, increasing the risk of lubricant oil film depletion, which can lead to surface damage and bearing seizure.

Higher efficiency transmission systems are key to improving overall fuel economy. NSK has improved durability and seizure resistance by producing rollers with pore-like micro indents in the surface of the steel. These indents help retain an oil film that is ideal for tapered roller bearing applications. Improving oil film retention reduces surface damage and achieves more than eight times higher durability and equal or greater seizure resistance compared to conventional products.

Improved lubricant and oil accumulation and retention in the surface contributes to 10 percent lower friction at low speeds compared to conventional products.

NSK’s global headquarters are in Japan. The company manufactures products including rolling element bearings, linear motion, and automotive component products.

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