NSK has developed a new mobile app that helps simplify precision bearing selection and the associated design integration process. The app also helps protect customers from counterfeit products with several features able to verify product authenticity.
The new app will coincide with the first shipments of NSK precision bearings in packaging that features unique 2D barcodes. For products manufactured at NSK’s facility in Newark, UK, the app will be released in January 2019. Smartphones with the app can then scan the barcode for instant access to useful information such as individual identification number, date of manufacture, bearing inspection record, dimensional tolerances, running accuracy, grease type and other technical details.
Data can be exported in CSV and PDF formats, enabling easy transfer to customer systems. This capability contributes to increased efficiency in the overall process of assembling bearings to spindles, and helps improve product traceability for more automated, IT-based management.
NSK developed the app in line with the rise of smart factory and Industry 4.0 initiatives, which are accelerating digitalisation in the manufacturing industry. As machines are further integrated with computer systems and equipped with wireless capabilities, easy, instant access to digital information is becoming an essential part of efficient operations.
With regard to customer protection, the unique 2D barcode and associated NSK cloud system safeguards against fake products. Scanning the barcode reveals if the product is suspected to be counterfeit by checking it against the NSK database. Furthermore, the number of accesses to the unique webpage for each bearing is tracked and displayed, allowing customers to better determine whether the product is a mass-produced imitation in an illicitly copied NSK bearing box.
The new app also provides easy access to a host of NSK web services, facilitating quicker responses to technical enquiries, rapid customer service and a faster, simplified product order process through company sales branches and distributors. What’s more, the app can present users with a host of technical tools and practical information such as digital catalogues, technical bearing calculators and handling and maintenance guides.
Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the app will be available in English, Japanese and Chinese. Suitability at present is for precision bearings (ISO class 5 and up) with a bore diameter of more than 30mm, such as those used in machine tools. Types include angular contact ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings and angular contact thrust ball bearings. The service will be expanded to other NSK products moving forwards.