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Linear Motion Control - 2018-08-07

NSK’s vibration-control actuator

A vibration-control actuator has been developed by NSK to help improve ride comfort and facilitate higher travel speeds on trains. The innovation is based on a ball-screw type actuator to suppress the lateral vibrations that occur during rail travel. 

With the rapid expansion of high-speed railway systems, the development of effective vibration control has become imperative in the quest for greater stability, ride comfort and safety. Railway tracks might look flat and even, but in fact feature almost constant undulations. Moreover, air-pressure fields that arise when entering tunnels can cause lateral swaying and shaking, resulting in a nauseating and uncomfortable ride experience. Based on these issues, NSK took the initiative to develop a vibration-control actuator capable of delivering more comfortable passenger travel at higher speeds. 

NSK’s highly efficient, highly responsive ball screws are renowned for translating rotational motion to linear motion with minimal energy loss. Maximising these qualities, the company set about developing a highly responsive electric vibration-control actuator capable of efficiently suppressing lateral vibration and sway, while also withstanding the constant shock and vibration experienced by railcar components.

Importantly, the compact and lightweight design enables the actuator to fit in the limited space available between the bogie and railcar body. In addition, the actuator is water- and dust-resistant, allowing it to operate in the adverse environmental conditions experienced by bogie components.

Since December 2017, NSK’s vibration-control actuator has been introduced to new models of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) E353 series high-speed trains that provide Super Azusa express services on the Chuo Line. The product is also used on Train Suite Shiki-shima, a luxury sleeper train service operated by JR East since May 2017.

Moving forward, NSK will continue to develop new products and technologies for the railway sector that contribute to safer, more comfortable, faster and more environmentally friendly travel.  

Location of NSK’s vibration-control actuator. Photo: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.


Diagrammatic representation indicating the location of NSK’s vibration-control actuator. Photo: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.

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