Air Bearing Basics
Air Bearings allow designers to push the envelope on precision and high speed applications. Unlike contact roller bearings, air bearings utilize a thin film of pressurized air to provide a ‘zero friction' load bearing interface between surfaces that would otherwise be in contact with each other. Being non-contact, air bearings avoid the traditional bearing-related problems of friction, wear, and lubricant handling, and offer distinct advantages in precision positioning and high speed applications.
The fluid film of the bearing is achieved by supplying a flow of air through the bearing itself to the bearing surface. Unlike traditional ‘orifice' air bearings, New Way Air Bearings deliver the air through a porous medium to ensure uniform pressure across the entire bearing area. The design of the air bearing is such that, although the air constantly dissipates from the bearing site, the continual flow of pressurized air through the bearing is sufficient to support the working loads.
Air bearings are a natural choice for applications in coordinate measuring machines, precision machine tools, semiconductor wafer processing machines, and other clean room, high speed, and precision positioning environments.