New Way™ Air Bearings offers a wide array of products to meet your varying precision motion needs. One of our newest lineups brings fully integrated linear motion solutions. Our Linear Air Slides utilize our porous carbon air bearings, packaged inside an anodized aluminum housing, and supported against a precision-ground aluminum guide rail.
Linear air slides are available in 4 basic configurations, giving you the flexibility to retrofit your existing roller bearing systems with drop-in compatible systems:
- End Supported Air Slides offer a solution for where non continuous support of the slide structure is not supported, and are ideal for gantries, XY and even XYZ motion systems.
- Dovetail Air Slides provide a lower profile track with high acceleration under moderate loads, and while the guide bar is continuously mounted, the slides can be stacked, and feature mounts for encoders and linear motors.
- Boxway Linear Slides have the stage with the largest footprint and a T shaped rail, allowing for the highest load bearing capacity of our air slide product line.
- Airway™ Linear Motion System offers a fully integrated rolling element replacement system, requiring nothing more than replacement of the stage as the motor and encoder are already included.
Industries and Applications
New Way Linear Slides are applicable to a wide array of industries requiring precision linear motion along one, two, or even three axes. Our linear slide units are ideal for high-speed operation like grinding machines or semiconductor pick-and-place units. This is due to their naturally static stiffness, and a dynamic stiffness in excess of 1,000,000 𝜇in/lbs at resonance, demonstrating a remarkably well damped system.
Micromachining, coordinate measuring machines, and especially optical grinding are applications at which linear slides excel. These industries benefit from the power of nanoscale accuracy of motion with zero overshoot or hysteresis. Optical grinding has become a growth industry for our linear slides, since they require rapid machine motion with minimal weight and ultra-fine control. Our linear slides have been integrated by such firms as Coburn Technologies, Onto Innovation, and DAC International for optical grinding processes.
Airpot ® Corporation is an industry leader in force pneumatics, motion, and displacement, and New Way helped to supply them with the linear slides necessary to test their new Airpel AB Air Cylinders. Airpot couldn’t demonstrate a frictionless air cylinder via a fractional rig, so a linear slide was used to fully counterbalance a 50 pound load. This load was translated through an egg, demonstrating the complete lack of friction and minimal force required to move a load balanced via AB air cylinders.
On a much larger scale, New Way has also partnered with Axis New England, a leader in robotic and machine automation for lithography, semiconductors, and precision optics clients. Axis New England required stages for super wide format printers, and with a straightness requirement of 5 microns, they recognized the need to look beyond conventional roller element bearings.
For their required test case, Axis used our flat round air bearings, delivering sub-micron accuracy over a 30” span, which was followed up by inspection systems built on Boxway and Dovetail Linear slides. When asked about their experience integrating New Way products, Greg Elrodt, senior systems engineer for Axis said “they were an order of magnitude better in performance and not very difficult to integrate…it’s a great product. Use it. You won’t be disappointed”.
Looking to the Future
Our linear slides are poised to become the linear motion method of choice across a wide variety of industries. With NewWay’s natural ease of retrofit, improved performance, cleanroom compatibility, and no need for maintenance, linear slides are the clear choice for forward looking manufacturers. Want to learn more or already have an application in mind? Contact us today to find out what New Way Air Bearings can do for you!