You may be surprised to learn that many of NSK's high-precision bearings and linear guides are produced at the company's plant in Newark (UK). Established in 1916 as Japan's first bearings manufacturer, NSK started penetrating the European and US markets in 1962/1963. In 1976, NSK built its own production plant in Peterlee (UK), which primarily manufactures products for the European market. It also took over bearing manufacturer RHP in 1990, together with the RHP plant in Newark (UK).
In order to boost the Newark plant's productivity, its capacity and processes have been expanded and improved since 1990. New product groups have also been added to its production programme. Now the Newark site, which includes manufacturing, logistics and the local Technology Centre, has a total workforce of approximately 500. Several sizes of high-precision angular-contact ball bearings are manufactured here for the European market, as well as other bearing products.
NSK supplies standard high-precision angular-contact ball bearings and its Robust series to clients including leading European machine tool manufacturers. As a part of this series, hybrid angular-contact ball bearings with ceramic balls are also produced in England. These components are used for highly stressed applications, such as main spindles in machine tools.
As it is close to the European market and in touch with the needs of customers, the Newark plant recently added two new product groups to its portfolio that are important for the machine tool industry. One of these is the Robust Shot bearings that feature relubrication through-holes in the outer ring; these were specially developed for high-speed applications. The other is the BSBD series bearings that consist of a two-row fixed-bearing unit with 'O' preload for use on ball screws. NSK is also active in the linear technology segment. This division is similarly represented in Newark, where NSK linear guides are produced.
NSK points out that all production processes – including testing – are structured in exactly the same way at every NSK site around the world and use identical machinery and systems to the company's original plants in Japan. Over the last few years, the plants have invested heavily in new machines and processes in order to further improve the quality of its output.
The NSK Technology Centre in Newark enables engineers to conduct extensive tests to develop new products and improve existing ones. The team helps to provide application technology-related advice when examining bearings that have already been in use. This Technology Centre was heavily involved in the market launch of the new Robust Shot and BSBD series of products. All the development work for the BSBD bearings was conducted there, and the Robust Shot series was made ready for series production in Newark.
Contact NSK for more information about the Robust Shot and BSBD series bearings or, indeed, any of its other products.