Welcome to the world of steel balls!

LESSON4 The ever-widening world of steel balls

Steel balls are very deep, aren’t they?! How will they spread throughout society in the future?
Professor Amatsuji
That’s a good question! Well, then, let’s take a look together at the future outlook for steel balls!

A material currently gaining attention: ceramics

 One material whose development is currently advancing is ceramics (silicone nitride). Although this is not steel, not only is it extremely hard, but it also has better wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, and insulation properties than steel.
 For example, ceramic balls are used in wind-power generators, which are gaining attention as the most representative form of natural energy.
 Expectations are held for the development of a broad range of applications for ceramic balls in the future.


That’s amazing!
So, why not make all balls out of ceramics?

Professor Amatsuji

No, no. no. Because the ceramic materials used are very, very hard, it takes a long time to make spherical balls. Processing also requires advanced technology, and the price of ceramic balls is extremely high compared with the price of ordinary steel balls. How to clear these hurdles is an issue that needs to be addressed in the future.

Contributing to miniaturization/weight reduction by further enhancing precision!

The world’s machines are becoming smaller and lighter. By producing smaller steel balls and improving their precision and durability, AKS contributes to the advancement of industry.
Moreover, it is possible to reduce energy loss by creating balls that are closer and closer to perfect spheres. Since steel balls are used throughout the world, a small advance leads to large energy savings on a global scale.


Wow, energy saving on a global scale!
Hey Professor, how shall is the smallest steel ball?

Professor Amatsuji

The size of the smallest steel ball is actually 0.1 mm in diameter. This was also successfully developed by Amatsuji Steel Ball Manufacturing Co., Ltd. However, industry has not caught up, and so these tiny balls have not yet been practically applied. When 0.1 mm diameter balls are in use, they will have probably developed an even smaller ball.

0.1mmThe photograph shows the size of these balls compared with the 0.5 mm diameter lead of a mechanical pencil.


I see. At any rate, if steel balls evolve even further, life on Earth will become even more comfortable and convenient, won’t it?!

Professor Amatsuji

That’s right. Although they go unnoticed, steel balls support our comfortable and convenient lifestyles.
There is still plenty of room for further development and contribution to society!
Well, that ends today’s lesson. If you have any more questions, please come and ask me anytime!