NSK has developed new self-lubricating deep groove ball bearings for use in submersible pumps that handle cryogenic gases such as hydrogen and LNG.
Unveiling the product launch on Thursday (Jan 6), the company said its stainless-steel bearings, with a cage made of self-lubricating fluoroplastic, are seeing increased adoption.
Reasonings for such increased demand could be related to the growing number of hydrogen projects worldwide, which often use special submersible pumps that can reliably pump gaseous and liquid media in continuous or intermittent operation.
In these pumps, the double bearing of the pump shaft is a critical design element. Corrosion resistance is essential, and no lubricant can be used other than the media washing around the bearing.
That being said, the tribology is unfavourable as it places tough demands on the material pairing. In addition, the bearings must maintain long service life, even at low temperatures.
Taking the above into consideration, NSK decided to develop a series of deep groove ball bearings specifically for these exceptional operating conditions, where a number of key design features provide differentiation from conventional pump bearings.
Already, the bearings have proved themselves in laboratory tests, and in practise, the deep groove ball bearings achieve significantly longer service life than other bearings.
The NSK bearings are available in various sizes and are well suited for use in both larger hydrogen pumping facilities and decentralised applications, such as hydrogen filling stations.