Huge interest in high-speed drive technology
At InnoTrans, the leading international trade fair for rail transport technology, NSK celebrated a premiere of the speedy sort. In Berlin, the company presented bearings for traction motors, gearboxes and wheelsets. The focus was on drives for trains that travel at speeds of over 200 km/h.
‘We are presenting our company as a successful supplier of the rail industry, who, as the Japanese market leader, equips all of the Shinkansen bullet trains with wheelsets, for example,’ reports Klaus Sausele, Head of Sector Management (OEM Development) at NSK Deutschland GmbH in Ratingen. ‘We are now using the expertise we gained in Asia to provide our innovative drive components to the European rail industry as well.’ The wheel set bearings for the high-speed trains that travel at speeds of up to 350 km/h were one of the highlights at the trade fair stand. The bearings are currently being used in field tests at SNCF in France.
In the UK, wheelset bearings are used in the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) by Hitachi. In addition, NSK supplies bearings for traction motors for the London Underground and several other over ground vehicles. These are just two examples of many applications in use on the British Isles. Tony Synnott, European Railway Sector Manager from Newark in Britain, explains: ‘In the UK, a traditional market with plenty of history for railway innovations, NSK has a high level of name recognition in the rail sector – thanks as well to the takeover of rolling bearing manufacturer RHP many years ago.’
Using these types of innovations, the NSK team demonstrated how the company can help operators and manufacturers to improve the speed and efficiency of trains. NSK’s condition monitoring system (CMS) which uses NSK sensors to monitor the speed, temperature and vibrations of wheelset bearings, was also of great interest. With this system, preventative maintenance can be established. The visitors found it fascinating that NSK provides more efficient maintenance in two ways: on the one hand, reliability lengthens the maintenance intervals; on the other hand, with the application of CMS, users can be sure that possible malfunctions will be discovered and remedied in a timely manner. This increases the availability and safety of trains tremendously – particularly with regard to high-speed travel.