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Comparing Precision Radial Bearings: Geared for the Turbomachinery Industry

Comparing Precision Radial Bearings:  Geared for the Turbomachinery Industry

5 Reasons to Consider Precision Radial Gas Bearings from New Way

As with any industry, the search for simpler and lower maintenance solutions is an ongoing pursuit to improve the bottom line. The turbo industry is no exception. Tilt pad bearings are often used in these applications for their ability to operate at high speeds. However, as with any lubrication-based system, maintenance due to wear caused by friction must always be factored into the ability to meet production goals. New Way offers an alternative to minimize maintenance with a non-contact solution. New Way’s precision radial bearings provide a frictionless solution through its keystone Porous Media TechnologyTM, utilizing pressurized air or gas to ensure consistent performance every time.

Forging a New Way Ahead in Precision Radial Bearings

New Way has been manufacturing air bearings for the machine tool, semiconductor, and medical industries for 25 years. Recognizing the need for Frictionless Motion®️ in the turbomachine industry, they sought out a solution. The answer was New Way’s acquisition of Bently Pressurized Bearing Company, a manufacturer of precision radial bearings, for high-speed rotating equipment such as:

  • Compressors
  • Steam & Gas turbines
  • Turboexpanders
  • Pumps
  • Motors

As a result, New Way has blended Don Bently’s externally pressurized gas bearings with its proven Porous Media Technology, mitigating the deficiencies of orifice technology for a superior alternative for the turbomachine industry. The combination of these proven technologies is Externally Pressurized Porous (EPP) Gas Bearing Technology and serves as the foundation to Bently BearingsTM by New Way. These externally pressurized precision radial gas bearings allow operation with the gases being sourced and are focused on rotating equipment at both low and high speeds to replace tilt pad bearings.

5 Advantages of New Way’s Bently Radial Gas Bearings versus Tilt Pad Bearings

Tilt pad bearings are prominent in the turbo industry because of their ability to operate at high speeds without causing whirl in certain configurations. While they are able to meet rigorous operating requirements demanded by the turbo industry, this comes at a cost in maintenance and complexity, ultimately affecting profits. Let’s look at five areas where Bently Bearings are able to overcome obstacles inherent to the tilt pad bearing design.

1. Zero Friction

Friction plagues engineers because of its effect on equipment life, precision, speed, and the oil /lubrication requirements it demands. Tilt pad bearings require oil lubrication systems to manage friction during operations.

In addition to zero friction during operation, Bently Bearings use of an external supply of gas that provides zero friction at start/stop, a known deficiency with tilt pad bearings.

2. Precision

Tilt pad bearings require careful design of a series of typically three to six curved pads, each of which can move around a pivot, line, or point. The clearance between the pad and the shaft must be understood and monitored to achieve the desired precision level. This requires complex monitoring software factoring in the number of pads, pre-load, pivot offset, and the direction of the load. The sheer number of components to consider make nano-precision accuracy cumbersome and challenging to achieve.

New Way’s Porous Media’s sub-micron holes allow for even distribution of air across a single face, simplifying attainment of the desired accuracy, as compared to tilt pad bearings. This fact, coupled with zero friction (including start/stop,) allow Bently Bearings to operate to nano-precision positioning consistently, making it more reliable and precise. This is a key discriminator of Bently Bearings EPP Gas Bearing Technology in meeting the demand for increased precision of radial bearings in the turbomachine industry/

3. Wear

While lubrication minimizes friction, it cannot completely eliminate it, particularly at start/stop where contact is made. As a result, lubrication-based bearings like tilt pads, experience wear, eventually resulting in maintenance downtime.

The use of EPP Technology in Bently Bearings equates to no moving parts and no contact (even at start/stop.) The end result is consistent performance and less maintenance, yielding greater production.

4. Speed

For tilt pad bearings, speed is yet another item to consider in its complicated monitoring software. A change in speed must consider the impacts on other aspects of the system (e.g. movement of pads, temperature implications, etc.)

While tilt pad bearings are known for their ability to operate at high speeds, Bently Bearings is also capable of operating at high speeds, yet with a simpler methodology. Given there is no contact and no moving parts, the EPP Technology in Bently Bearings offers a straightforward approach to reaching comparable high speeds.

5. Heat Generation

Heat generation can induce wear and impact operations requiring maintenance downtime. One of the disadvantages of tilt pad bearings is the heat generation created as a result of the sheer number of moving pieces, directly impacting the viscosity of the oil lubricant. This thermal relationship is another factor in the complex equations required to operate tilt pad bearings to meet the desired performance. In some instances, costly cooling systems are required.

Bently Bearings inherently have less heat generation since there are fewer moving components. Bently Bearings EPP Technology creates gas across an even porous surface as compared to oil across multiple moving surfaces affected by heat and viscosity changes. While a thermal relationship still needs to be monitored, it is greatly simplified. Bently’s external pressure supply allows the input pressure to easily be modified to create a gap, affecting the temperature, if necessary. Bently Bearings minimize heat generation and provide streamlined methods for managing temperature changes, resulting in less maintenance downtime and longevity of operating equipment.

These five areas can be stumbling blocks inhibiting production goals. Profits are affected by not only the maintenance required for tilt pad bearings, but also by the costly software required to manage all the moving components. Bently Bearings provide a clear alternative by offering an uncomplicated solution utilizing source gases/air. Bently’s frictionless solution is able to remove the maintenance obstacle, while still meeting the demanding operating requirements of the turbo industry.

Choosing your Bently Bearings

Bently Bearings provides a range of precision radial bearings in varying sizes, as well as custom solutions.

In addition to radial bearings, Bently Bearings also manufactures thrust bearings for axial/thrust loads which can be used as an alternative to tilt pad oil bearings.

A special subset of Bently Bearings are the balance bearings. Hard or soft mount compatible, the Bently Balance Bearings balance shafts without contacting hard rollers. New Way’s design improves rotor-balancing through proven EPP Technology.

Don’t worry if you aren’t designing from scratch! Bently Bearings can be retrofitted to existing machinery.

Moving the Industry Forward- From Bearings to Seals and Valves

While EPP Gas Bearing Technology is a game changer for radial, thrust, and balance bearings, it is also becoming transformative in the seal and valve industry.


One of the first uses of EPP Technology was by Flowserve, but as a seal, not as a bearing. The high-pressure of gas created in the gap ensures that a lower pressure gas cannot get through- essentially forming a seal that secures liquids, gases, fine powders, and slurries. The result is New-Seal founded on EPP Technology which produces face (thrust) seals and circumferential (radial) seals offering:

  • Potential to operate on process gases
  • Oil-less solution resulting in low-maintenance
  • High speeds without heat

And can be used in place of:

  • Mechanical Seals
  • Dry Gas Seals
  • Packing Seals
  • Labyrinth Seals
  • Brush Seals
  • Abradable Seals
  • Bearing Isolators
  • Injection-Type Seals
  • Hydrogen Seals


Similarly, a formative line of valves has been developed with EPP Gas Bearing Technology as its basis. New-Valve mitigates emissions while providing Frictionless Motion®️. The EPP Technology results in ease of operating the valve, including:

  • Minimizing breakaway torque issues
  • Removing need for special tools to open/close valves
  • Eliminating physical strain from manual actuation of valves

New-Valve can be used in place of traditional valves or retrofitted to replace traditional valves such as:

  • Plug Valves
  • Ball Valves
  • Gate Valves
  • Butterfly Valves
  • Brush Seals
  • Hydrogen Seals

Geared Up to Take the Next Step?

Come check out Bently Bearings, New-Seal, and New-Valve by New Way at the 2017 Turbo & Pump Symposium, Booth 2611, Dec. 11-14 in Houston, TX. We’ll have demos and products of our Externally Pressurized Porous (EPP) Radial Gas Bearings, as well as experienced engineers to answer any questions you have. Check out the Bently Bearings media page to see these products in action. If you’re ready to join us in moving the turbomachinery industry forward, contact us today for your complimentary consultation!

Contact us today for a complimentary consultation