Home » 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.

Magtrol Creates Game Changer in Consumer Confidence

Magtrol, a leader in the manufacturing of motor testing equipment, recognizes the connection between their reputation and product quality. With this in mind, Magtrol has begun utilizing New Way Air Bearings as part of their test and calibration suite to fine tune their own products. Magtrol has successfully implemented both radial bearings and air bushings into their test and calibration suite, with plans to also use flat round bearings for an upcoming project.

Magtrol employs “very specialized, delicate lab equipment,” remarks Maxwell Keeling, a Mechanical Engineer on the Magtrol Product Development team. Measuring torque and its effect on motor power is a primary function of Magtrol, whose products are used to test small engines utilized in items such as home appliances, car window controls, and medical equipment.

While the tests themselves are simple, “to do it to an extremely high level of precision gets very involved, and that’s where things like air bearings come in,” comments Keeling.

The Search for a Solution

magtrol customer proven solutionsAll of Magtrol’s products go through extensive testing, building customer confidence in their end product. Part of Magtrol’s test suite is the Torque Calibration Beam, which is used for measuring static torque. The Torque Calibration Beam serves as a “special golden reference” to prove out and improve their dynamometers, measuring speed and torque to compute an engine’s rotary power output.

The Torque Calibration Beam is designed to apply torque in an automated fashion. Its setup required the use of a shaft which had the potential to interfere with dynamometer measurements. With a requirement “to work better than 0.04% of its full-scale,” they knew they needed to “eliminate as much friction as possible,” notes Keeling.

“When you get into that range, all things start to matter that you wouldn’t normally consider,” he stated. To achieve this, Keeling needed a solution and “air bearings are a way for us to get rid of as much friction as possible.”

Keeling was impressed with New Way’s core focus being air bearings as well as their extensive online material such as videos and the ability to download product models and drawings. This was ideal for someone new to air bearings, enabling them to quickly learn as well as proceed along in their design process with easily accessible models.

He also noted New Way’s large number of off-the-shelf products. While theoretically magnetic bearings could work as a solution, they aren’t typically found off-the-shelf and are “another level up in terms of complexity and cost,” comments Keeling as he solidifies his air bearing decision.

A New Way of Performance and Support

magtrol-customer-proven-solution“The top benefit of working with New Way was the support they offered,” according to Keeling. He did have some concerns with how the air bearings would integrate with the rest of their design, and initially, they did have problems. However, New Way helped them track down and resolve the issue, which ended up being a surface finish problem on other parts.

They were “really good helping us trace them[the problems] down,” he explained. Magtrol sent the parts to New Way, who were able to resolve the issues. New Way even followed up with an onsite visit to check-in on the solution and offer additional tips to optimize performance.

Keeling says this combination of:

  • Support
  • Zero Friction Performance
  • Wide Product Range

makes New Way their “go-to place for us for air bearings for upcoming projects.”

“I don’t see a reason to pursue any other technologies,” concludes Keeling.

Join the Air Bearing Movement!

“New Way’s Porous Media TechnologyTM is a game changer for companies to get an ‘honest’ assessment on their product,” remarks Rich Hesse, New Way Technical Sales Manager. Hesse goes on to explain how this extends to customers relying on Magtrol’s products to understand the performance of their product.

“It’s exciting to see the ripple effect of our technology to instill confidence and improved quality down to the end users of products people use every day,” concludes Hesse.

Contact us today to find out how air bearings can improve your application and join companies like Magtrol experiencing the benefits of Frictionless Motion®TM.

Maxwell Keeling


Product Development, Mechanical Engineer

Rich Hesse


New Way Technical Sales Manager

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