R&D Project Overview
Aiming for carbon neutrality by using plant-based raw materials
Concerns over global warming have been increasing around the world over recent years, and there are strong demands on industry to work toward achieving carbon neutrality and a decarbonized society by 2050. Many Oiles Bearings use plastic derived from fossil fuels, so meeting these demands in such circumstances presented a significant challenge. And so, Oiles developed a Biomass Plastic Bearing that uses plant-based raw materials. Plants absorb CO2 as they grow, so using them for raw material contributes to carbon neutrality. However, a significant challenge was presented by the need to incorporate environmental characteristics to contribute to carbon neutrality and resource circulation and ensure the tribological performance required of Oiles Bearings. While it is possible to achieve a certain level of tribological performance by impregnating biomass plastic with solid lubricants, this would result in poorer environmental characteristics for Oiles Bearings. So we found a solution to this problem by using a plant-based solid lubricant.
We developed Biomass Plastic Bearings with unprecedented top-class tribological performance and environmental characteristics in order to encourage their uptake.
The researcher’s perspective
Future orientation and the best performance through Biomass Plastic Bearings!
Mr.Takahashi, Research & Laboratory-2, Research & Development Dept.
While the Paris Agreement was reached in 2016, the year in which development started, demand for decarbonization was still not as strong as it is today. As I recall, the term “SDGs” still had not become commonplace. Naturally, there were no customers asking for Biomass Plastic Bearings, and we worked on development with absolutely no idea whether there would be any demand. There was even a period when we felt we were wandering in the dark with no exit. But regardless of whether there was a demand, I believed that it was the field Oiles had to work on before anything else.
A factor behind the successful development was the atmosphere of freedom at Oiles. The Research & Development Department has a culture that allows freedom in materials development, and so I was able to incorporate my ideas into the material. Of course, coming up with ideas for the composition of the material to make it one of the best was hard work, and we had to undertake many trials to achieve both tribological performance and ensure its environmental characteristics. There was also an event to make the results of our R&D open and available in-house, leading to matching between seeds and needs and commercialization. I am now involved in research into new biomass and sustainable materials, and I want to keep taking on challenges to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality.