Libertine FPE, Ltd. had stringent requirements for the dynamic test actuator they were developing for the automotive industry, and needed minimal friction and hysteresis error. They came to New Way, where we provided our engineering support, and helped them integrate our air bushings; creating a product to simulate road conditions and accurately reproduce noise and vibrations.
Libertine FPE Limited, an innovative leader in linear power systems, selected New Way® Air Bushings for use in their high dynamic test actuators. Originally developed for a customer in the racing industry, the test actuator offers the ability to test responses to input vibrations affecting critical design features such as frame integrity, torque, and fatigue. IBS Precision Engineering is official distributor for New Way Air Bearings in Europe.
“Friction was such a key part of the overall system performance,” said Sam Cockerill, CEO, and Founder of Libertine. Libertine engineers had previous experience with various dry bearings, including polymer and graphite bearings. However, to meet the stringent performance requirements for this high-dynamic test actuator, an air bearing solution with minimal friction and hysteresis was necessary. Cockerill knew it was necessary to “invest in a technology that we knew would be capable of meeting that requirement.”
Cockerill and his team at Libertine began investigating air bearing solutions. Given the low and cyclical nature of their linear speeds, they focused on the two options in the aerostatic realm: drilled (i.e. orifice-based) or porous media. After consulting IBS Precision Engineering and gathering some initial results with a porous media bearing, Cockerill’s team said they felt comfortable “this porous bearing was the right solution” for the test actuator.
The use of New Way Air Bushings in the test actuator was “overall, a pretty positive result,” stated Cockerill.
Libertine integrated the air bushings with a high-performance electrical machine, along with a preload device. The non-contact nature of the air bushings aided in reproducing accurate road conditions to evaluate issues such as noise/ vibration in the automotive design. Cockerill and team not only demonstrated the performance of their technology but then were able to create and license intellectual property around the test actuator.
Not only was Libertine able to achieve the performance they were looking for, but they experienced a number of other benefits during the development of the test actuator.
Cockerill noted a key benefit of New Way’s products is their “flexibility to incorporate these bearings with a number of different electrical machine types.” The modularity of the air bushings enabled Libertine to easily integrate air bushings within their design assembly.
New Way products are available as standard off-the-shelf stock.
“When we come to making repeat builds, we don’t have to incur a two, four, or six week lead time,” remarked Cockerill.
Later in the development process, Libertine approached New Way regarding a custom modification. New Way and IBS Precision Engineering were “able to accommodate”, said Cockerill, commenting on the positive experience this flexibility provided through the design process.
As far as working with New Way, “The experience for us has been a positive one,” remarked Cockerill. Cockerill is excited about the future for Libertine. The success of the test actuator utilizing New Way Air Bushings demonstrated “a significant feature for a number of areas of our future development,” Cockerill says.
“Here at New Way, not only do we provide standardized high-performing non-contact air bearings, but we also work directly with customers to accommodate their unique requirements”, said Rich Hesse, New Way Technical Sales Manager.“ New Way Air Bearings is proud to be an integral part of Libertine’s success.”
If you’d like to join companies like Libertine who are realizing the benefits of air bearings, contact us today to determine the right air bearing for your application!