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3 Reasons Modern EV Manufacturing Needs Air Bearings

3 Reasons Modern EV Manufacturing Needs Air Bearings

EV chassis with exposed battery pack in manufacturing facility New Way® Air Bearings is proud to be at the forefront of dynamic solutions for legacy and emerging industries. Here, we want to highlight how Frictionless Motion™ can enhance the production of electric vehicles (EVs).

With the government offering a federal EV tax credit, manufacturers have never been more encouraged to enter the market. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they’re seeing the benefits of a car which charges at home and skips the gas pump. The number of EV’s on the road in 2022 increased year over year by a staggering 65%, with over 800,000 sold in the United States.

As we continue into 2023, their market share is only accelerating. We want to highlight how New Way’s Porous Media™ air bearings can improve the production and testing of electric vehicle systems; from battery separator film production and glass manufacturing to true force dynamometry for both consumer and performance grade motors.

Battery Separator Films

 Robotic arm placing car window into chassis in manufacturing plant

Inside every electric battery is the battery separator film, a membrane between the cathode and anode which serves to prevent short circuiting while still allowing ion transfer through the permeable material. This is a key component, as in the event of overheating, the separator film melts, closing the pores and preventing a larger short in the system.

As such, these membranes must be free of surface defects like pinholes, which could provide an electrical path between the individual cell components. Like many other films and flexible substrates, battery separator films are produced on a roll-to-roll process. The leading manufacturer of capacitor film production systems currently expects to install upwards of 300 production lines over the coming decade to meet demand.

The Benefit of Air Turns™

Flexible web handling is already a delicate, well-controlled process, but even the best tolerances available do not overcome the inherent drawbacks of contact rollers. Contact with the surfaces can induce defects or transfer contaminants to the film. Our Air Turns™ offer an alternative to traditional contact rollers, supporting the substrate on a micro thin film of air.

Variable web tension is achieved through varying the supplied pressure, while the positive pressure air film which provides motion also acts as a microscopic surface scrubber, removing defects or contaminants without damaging the product. Furthermore, an air gap on either side of your product opens the door to in-situ interferometry for measuring flatness and web stability.

Smart Glass Conveyance

 Technician with EV motor performing tests in a laboratory

The production of flat panel displays is among one of our oldest markets. Today, the electric vehicle industry has its sights set on redefining how they use glass and displays in their vehicles. The 2024 Cadillac Celestiq is a hotly anticipated entry into the luxury EV marketplace. One of its primary selling points is its use of Suspected Particle Device (SPD) SmartGlass, allowing the driver and passengers to individually adjust how much light their respective quadrant of the roof lets in.

These materials will only become more popular with time, and our Air Bars offer a tried and true method for the conveyance of glass panels during their production. Through the combination of positive pressure and vacuum holes to control the glass, you can transport glass and flat panel displays at high speed, all while maintaining full control, and the Precision Zone series offer an even greater level of control over fly height for inspection applications.

Electric Motor Dynamometry

If the consumer market is speeding up, the performance market is flooring it off the start line. Ever since Formula E made its debut with their 2014 season, teams have been hard at designing and testing for an edge over their competitors. Unlike traditional Formula 1, the vehicle is already provided, with each team able to design and field their own powertrains within the format specification.

In the development of electric motors and testing automotive performance, accurate dynamometry and torque measurement is absolutely critical. This is why New Way has partnered with multiple automotive suppliers to help design test beds for true force measurement in wind tunnels and dynamometer test rigs.

For Magtrol, an industry leader in torque measurement for small electric motors, they needed a calibration suite capable of producing their “Golden Unit” with which to measure other products against. The use of radial bearings and air bushings allowed them to calibrate within 0.04% of their target goal. This unmatched performance makes all the difference for precision engineering, and translates into the tiny differences which can help win on the track.

Contact Us

If you’re moving into the EV market or are looking to integrate porous media technology to further your EV processes, please contact us regarding your application, and our dedicated engineering team will get back to you!

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