Radial Air Bearings


Radial Air Bearings

Radial Air Bearings

New Way Radial Air Bearings are ideal for precision rotary applications, giving you all the advantages of air bearings built on our proven Porous Media Technology™.


Radial air bearings provide non-contact support for rotating, round artifacts using a thin (5µm) layer of air. This thin air layer is amazingly stiff (upwards of 160,000 lb/in), creating a stable support for a ring, or bearing surface, while allowing for surface speeds of up to 50 meters-per-second.

New Way radial air bearings can be configured to ride on the outer diameter or inner diameter of a rotating artifact for a given application, using concave and convex shapes using a radius cut along the length (L) or width (W) of the bearing, depending on your structural requirements. The bearings are specifically machined to the tight tolerances necessary to create non-contact motion.

Faster Rotation

Unlike complex magnetic suspension or oil-based lubrication systems, the Radial Air Bearing’s Frictionless Motion®️ means zero dynamic, contacting components, eliminating mechanical wear, and increasing the lifespan of your assemblies. With friction eliminated, our radial bearings open the door to far faster rotational speeds, providing faster motion while retaining a degree of accuracy only limited by the servo and controller system you choose.

Safer Operation

New Way Radial Bearings are an exceptionally low flow technology, taking almost six hours to push one cubic meter of air through a 50mm x 100mm bearing, and thus, are extremely efficient in operation when compared to orifice-based systems. If airflow is somehow disrupted to the air bearing, the porous nature of the bearing surface means depressurization will occur slowly, allowing for a soft landing, ensuring the radial bearing and the guide surface remain undamaged. Contrast this with orifice and magnetic bearings which can often fail in catastrophic ways, and we see how radial air bearings provide all the benefits with none of the drawbacks.

Cleanroom Compliance

Click to view full testing and analysis report

The unique characteristics of Porous Media in radial air bearings makes them ideal for clean room use. Not only is less air used in radial air bearings when compared to orifice-based air bearings, but the air is evenly distributed by the Porous Media. Both of these features minimize the potential of eddy currents in the clean room and its damaging impacts on production.

Another benefit of the use of Porous Media is its ability to perform as a sub-micron filter for the air emitted. Testing indicates the bearing satisfies the requirements of Class 1 (ISO class 3) cleanliness, with airborne particulate concentrate limits of less than 1,000 x 0.1μm particles / m3.

While several standard sizes of radial air bearings are offered, New Way also has more than 30 years experience developing custom solutions. Contact us to tell us more about your application!

Standard and Custom Engineering

All radial air bearings come in a variety of sizes configurations to accommodate an array of rotary applications. New Way also has a proud history of providing bespoke engineering solutions, so if you need something made to your exact specifications, we have the in-house design and manufacturing expertise to make that happen.

  • Large-scale rotary motion
  • No contact
  • No wear
  • No noise
  • No lubrication needed
  • Averaging of guide surface errors
  • Sub-nanometer repeatability
  • Infinite resolution
  • Excellent velocity control
  • No vibration
  • High speed
  • High stiffness


New Way radial air bearings support a wide range of high-performance applications. The ability to use them in groups makes their solution space virtually limitless. Their non-contact nature makes them superior for high-precision applications while virtually eliminating downtime for maintenance, all the while improving the overall manufacturing process.Not to worry if you don’t see your application listed! Tell us more about your rotary application so we can help find the right air bearing solution for you.

Web Handling
  • Non-contact handling of flexible substrates during roll-to-roll production reduces defects.
  • Removal of friction and wear translates to less downtime required for frequent lubrication and replacement of worn components.
  • Porous Media Technology offers sub-nanometer precision positioning and smooth motion ideal for optical applications.
  • Facilitates high-speed, non-contact rotation of x-ray assemblies for patient imaging.
  • Inspection systems require reliable ultra-high precision to avoid defective products making it to market.
  • Use of air instead of traditional lubricants ideal for clean-room environments
Additional Applications

Radial Air Bearing Product Line

Available in both Concave and Convex Profiles, these bearings are offered in 10 standard sizes, as well as any custom size.

Radial Air Bearings Concave L Profile
Radial Air Bearing Concave L Profile
Radial Air Bearings Concave L Profile

Radial Air Bearings Concave W Profile
radial air bearings concave w profile
Radial Air Bearings Concave W Profile

Radial Air Bearings Convex L Profile
radial air bearings convex l profile
Radial Air Bearings Convex L Profile

Radial Air Bearings Convex W Profile
radial air bearings convex w profile
Radial Air Bearings Convex W Profile


Keck Observatory Improves Operations with New Way Air Bearings

Keck Observatory Improves Operations with New Way Air Bearings

Keck Observatory, often considered the world’s most scientifically productive observatory, turned to New Way when they needed help replacing their rolling-bearing-based rotary encoder. A system built on radial and flat round air bearings allowed for a new 1-meter diameter rotary table, cutting acquisition time by 75% and reducing maintenance to near zero.

Magtrol’s Use of Air Bearings in Test Suite Improves Product Quality

Magtrol’s Use of Air Bearings in Test Suite Improves Product Quality

Magtrol Inc., a leader in torque measurement for small motors, recognized the unique capability of air bearings to provide frictionless torque measurements. They upgraded their calibration suits through radial air bearings and air bushings, providing a frictionless solution backed by engineering support they could trust.

Roundness Checker + Air Bearings = Quality Improvement

Roundness Checker + Air Bearings = Quality Improvement

B&B Manufacturing Company, Inc. is a global supplier of threaded fasteners and machine parts, serving numerous industries from power generation and aerospace to petrochemical and medical. When they found ball bearings added too much error to their in-house designed roundness checker, they used New Way Radial and Flat Round Air Bearings to build a turntable with maximum accuracy.

Tell Us About Your Application

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