NSK develops self-lubricating rolling bearings

NSK Europe, the European arm of Japanese bearing manufacturer NSK, has developed deep groove ball bearings that do not require external lubrication to be used in submersible pumps handling cryogenic gases such as hydrogen and LNG.
NSK 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 rising adoption in submersible pumps as a rising number of projects promote using hydrogen as an vitality source. Little-known use special submersible pumps that can reliably pump gaseous and liquid media in continuous or intermittent operation at low temperatures right down to round -200°C.
In such pumps, the double bearing of the pump shaft is a crucial design element. Corrosion resistance is crucial, and no lubricant can be used other than the media washing across the bearing. However, this locations robust demands on the material pairing.
So NSK has developed a collection of deep groove ball bearings particularly for these distinctive working circumstances, and several key design features provide differentiation from standard pump bearings. For example, the internal and outer rings are made of a stainless-steel adapted to the special necessities of rolling bearings.
A steady cage that occupies the whole internal quantity of the bearing offers steering for the rolling parts (also manufactured from stainless steel), whereas the cage material, a self-lubricating fluoroplastic, ensures low friction running of the bearing with out external lubrication. In addition, the high-performance fluoroplastic is extraordinarily wear-resistant and offers good low-temperature properties at speeds as a lot as 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 for use in both larger hydrogen pumping facilities and decentralised functions, similar to hydrogen filling stations.

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