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Worldwide Research and Development into New Products and Technologies that Anticipate Market Needs

Research and Development

Tribology is Key to Creation of Future Technologies in Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy.

The two pillars of our R&D are preservation of the global environment and contribution to renewable energy. Bearings that reduce friction, and thus energy consumption, in a variety of machinery are truly eco-products. Based on the expertise we have built up in tribology*1, we use our material technologies including surface modification, ceramics, sintered alloys, and engineering plastics*2, and our lubrication technologies in oil and grease, to bring customers products that are light and compact, offer low torque and a long service life (high reliability), and can handle high-speed and special environmental applications.

*1 Tribology: A science and technology that includes the study and application of mechanisms of friction, wear and lubrication.

*2 Engineering plastics: Synthetic plastics that are engineered to have a specific function.

Diagram: Tribology is Key to Creation of Future Technologies in Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy.

Research and Development System

Development System Capable of Rapid Response to the Needs of Local Customers around the World

The NTN Group conducts global research and development at four regionally independent, self-contained R&D bases. At the R&D bases in Japan and Europe, we conduct elemental technology and other basic research, as well as research into cutting-edge technologies. At the same time, so that we can quickly respond to customer needs in various regions, the R&D bases are self-contained centers that can carry out independent technological services such as development of individual products, assessment for certification, surveys, and analysis. We are stepping up the functions of the NTN China Technical Center in Shanghai, which is central to collaborations with industry, academia, and government in conducting development projects, and which hosts demonstration testing related to environmental fields.

The research results and technological information garnered from NTN’s R&D bases are compiled on databases for sharing among the worldwide NTN Group.

Development System Capable of Rapid Response to the Needs of Local Customers around the World

Development Examples

Development for the Industrial Machinery Market

Meeting Needs in a Range of Sectors through Advanced Bearing Technologies

Besides the promising growth sector of wind power systems, we are also positioning aircraft, machine tools, rolling stock, construction machinery, robotics, and agricultural machinery as key sectors where advanced bearing technology is in demand. For these sectors we are developing new products and module systems that respond to market needs. One target area for NTN is offshore wind turbines, which is seeing increasing numbers of installations worldwide. For this market, we have developed and plan to introduce the world's smallest class of CMS*1, which remotely monitors the state of the various parts of a wind turbine. We have already begun selling the CMS for both practical use and demonstration test purposes on land-based wind turbines around Japan.

In NTN's core product area of spherical roller bearings, we are expanding our ULTAGE*2 series, which boasts the world’s highest standard. Besides increasing sales of ULTAGE in key sectors and the steel industry, we are continuing to evolve this product series and develop module and system products in response to new market needs.

*1 CMS: Condition Monitoring System

*2 "ULTAGE" (a name created from the combination of "ultimate," signifying refinement, and "stage," signifying NTN's intention that this series of products be employed in diverse applications) is the general name for NTN's new generation of bearings that are noted for their industry-leading performance.

Automotive Applications

Providing a Diverse Range of Products that Boost a Car's Energy Efficiency

Besides module products such as Ball Screw Drive Module for Electric Hydraulic Brake for hybrid cars, and the MCU*3 for next-generation steering systems, we have developed products that improve cars' fuel efficiency, like a Low Torque Seal Ring that allows transmissions to be smaller and have lower torque, and hub bearings with less friction loss.

For EVs, we have developed an In-wheel Motor System and an electromechanical brake system, and we are working with system suppliers to bring these products to market. We have also conducted demonstration projects in Japan and France of microcompact EVs equipped with our in-wheel system. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, we began a similar demonstration project in Ise City, Mie Prefecture and are aiming for commercialization that will help local tourism promotion.

*3 MCU: Mechanical clutch unit