Japan Firms Bring Sustainable Plants to New Heights

There is growing interest in carbon neutrality. Particularly, Japanese bearing and linear guide equipment companies are stepping up various initiatives, including the use of green energy sources such as solar power generation.

Most importantly, they focus on the development of products that contribute to energy savings, and the energy conservation of plant facilities.

THK Co., Ltd.

THK is working to reduce CO₂ emissions as a medium-term target for the Group.

Specifically, they are using the actual CO₂ emissions in 2018 (106,514 tonnes per year) as a benchmark to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030. Moreover, to realize virtually zero emissions by 2050.

The company is working to further reduce CO₂ emissions in its business activities and to expand its products and services. This includes direct-acting products that contribute to energy savings.

THK has introduced solar power generation at its plants around the world, including in Japan and China (THK Manufacturing of China (Changzou) Co.)

THK is promoting the installation of solar power generation at its plants and offices in Japan. The company’s annual power generation in Japan, including the Group, has increased year on year to 99MWh in 2020) and then to 2,823MWh in 2021.

Furthermore, continuous efforts led to the company’s consistent use of power generation, increasing to 3,332MWh in 2022 and 6,324MWh in 2023.

Overseas plants have so far introduced solar power generation at THK Manufacturing of China (Changzhou), THK Manufacturing of China (Liaoning) and THK Rhythm (Thailand). thereafter, all other plants will do so in the future.

Nippon Thompson Co.,Ltd.

Nippon Thompson installed solar power generation on the roof of the building at its domestic production bases. Particularly, in Gifu Factory Complex, Mugegawa Area, Mugegawa Factory (Gifu Prefecture, Japan), based on an on-site Power Purchase Agreement model. The power generation started on 1 April 2023.

Solar panels installed by Nippon Thompson at the Gifu Factory Complex, Mugegawa Area, Mugegawa Factory

In February this year, Nippon Thompson became the first company in the domestic bearing industry to begin full-scale operation of a solar power plant using the Virtual PPA service. Currently, it is now working to realize its plan to convert 100% of the electricity used at its sales offices in Japan to renewable energy. The virtual PPA service is expected to reduce CO₂ emissions by approximately 340 tonnes per year.

Furthermore, Nippon Thompson proposes products to the market as ‘eco-products’ that contribute to the realization of CN through unique technologies, such as the C-Lube maintenance-free series, the LCD lubrication series, ultra-thin cross roller bearings, short shaft cam followers and cutting type needle bearings.

NSK Ltd.

NSK is promoting the reduction of CO₂ emissions, for example by raising funds through Sustainability-Linked Bond (SLB) issuance. Specifically, in Europe, green electricity got its start with the Munderkingen plant in Germany in 2017. Next, the company introduced the system to its Wałbrzych plant in Poland in January 2018 and then the Kielce plant in Poland in January 2020.

In addition, NSK also implemented the same to its Newark and Peterlee plants in the UK in September 2021. Thus, all major plants in Europe have achieved a significant reduction in CO₂ emissions.

NSK has switched to green electricity for its domestic and overseas plants (Kielce plant, Poland).

Green electricity is also being used at the control center and technology center in Germany and the distribution center in the Netherlands.

As part of its carbon-neutral response, NSK is also promoting the use of 100% plant-derived biomass plastic: in November 2021, NSK developed a heat-resistant resin cage derived from 100% biomass plastic for rolling bearings for air-conditioner motors.

-3 April 2024-

*This is an English translation of a Japanese article originally published in the March 25, 2024 issue of Dempa Shimbun Daily.