NSK develops self-lubricating rolling bearings

NSK Europe, the European arm of Japanese bearing producer NSK, has developed deep groove ball bearings that don’t require exterior lubrication for use in submersible pumps dealing with cryogenic gases similar to hydrogen and LNG.
Moneyback has developed special shaft bearings with a cage made from self-lubricating fluoroplastic for submersible pumps that handle cryogenic gases and liquids.
The stainless-steel bearings with a cage made of self-lubricating fluoroplastic are seeing increasing adoption in submersible pumps as a growing number of projects promote the use of hydrogen as an vitality supply. These tasks usually use special submersible pumps that may reliably pump gaseous and liquid media in steady or intermittent operation at low temperatures down to around -200°C.
In such pumps, the double bearing of the pump shaft is a critical design factor. Corrosion resistance is essential, and no lubricant can be used other than the media washing around the bearing. However, this places tough calls for on the material pairing.
So NSK has developed a collection of deep groove ball bearings specifically for these exceptional working situations, and various other key design options provide differentiation from standard pump bearings. For instance, the internal and outer rings are made of a stainless steel tailored to the special requirements of rolling bearings.
A stable cage that occupies the entire internal quantity of the bearing offers steerage for the rolling elements (also manufactured from stainless steel), while the cage materials, a self-lubricating fluoroplastic, ensures low friction working of the bearing without external lubrication. In addition, the high-performance fluoroplastic is extremely wear-resistant and provides good low-temperature properties at speeds up to 3600 rpm. The cage has a two-piece design, with the 2 halves joined by chrome steel rivets.
The NSK bearings are available in various sizes (shaft diameter 30–100 mm) and are designed to be used in each bigger hydrogen pumping facilities and decentralised applications, similar to hydrogen filling stations.

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