NSK Europe’s S1 is a bioplastic retention piece for ball screws made from 100% renewable biological resources.

The use of bioplastics for the new retaining piece reportedly reduces carbon footprint by 90% over its lifecycle compared to conventional materials.

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Ball screws are highly efficient at transmitting force and converting motion (from rotational to linear), delivering significant energy savings. Retaining pieces sit between the balls to prevent them from colliding with each other and causing damage.

In recent years, injection moulding machines and servo presses are among the many machine types switching from hydraulic to electric drive systems using servomotors and ball screws to reduce power consumption.

For the development of its S1 bioplastic retaining piece for ball screws (50 to 200mm diameter), NSK selected and validated DSM’s EcoPaXX bioplastic (a plant-derived high-performance polyamide) as the retention piece material.

NSK deployed its digital twin technology to optimise and expedite the development process. This advanced process enabled the creation of a bioplastic retaining piece with the same performance as a conventional product in a short period of time through the simulation of key parameters such as dimensions, shape, deformation and strength.

The European Commission released its Net-Zero Industry Act in March 2023, resulting in low-carbon and environmental measures being increasingly required in a wide variety of industrial machinery.

NSK Europe is the European organisation of the Tokyo-based bearing manufacturer NSK, which was founded in Japan in 1916 and currently employs more than 30,000 people worldwide.