What is a Bushing?
Bush bearings (also known as bushings or bushes) are a type of independent plain bearing, providing a low-resistance surface to reduce friction between contact faces. Applications of bush bearings include rotary and linear shaft-based systems to minimize friction between moving parts. Despite improvements in materials and lubricants, conventional bushings continue to fight friction-causing issues like:
- Heat generation
- Component wear
- Inconsistent performance
- Periodic maintenance
New Way® Air Bushings offer a frictionless alternative by distributing a thin, stiff layer of air through a tube of porous media, and are currently revolutionizing numerous industries. This Porous Media Technology™ uses the natural permeability of carbon to create even air distribution. This unique design creates several benefits including:
- No heat build-up
- No routine maintenance
- Consistent performance
- Precision movement
With an understanding of what bushings are used for, let’s look at six applications for utilizing air bushings in place of conventional bushings.
What is a Bushing Used For?
Air bushings have a wide range of uses across many diverse industries. Here are six industries that require precision bearings to complete complex processes.
1. Medical Industry
Diagnostic equipment such as MRI and CT scans often use bushings for linear and rotary motion. Stringent precision and alignment requirements have accompanied the advancement of diagnostic imaging techniques, making air bushings ideal for these applications. The frictionless operation air bushings eliminates the misalignment that is often inherent in mechanical bushings. In addition, the high speed and natural damping of porous media based products increases throughput and decreases noise, allowing for a more patient friendly environment.
2. Precision Machining
Bushings are an integral part of the design of precision machining applications. Similar to the stringent requirements of medical machines, these machines have the same critical precision and alignment criteria for acceptable operation. New Way’s air bushings can be used to meet these high standards, while also providing the benefits of a maintenance-free operation.
Precision machining requires extreme tolerances for straightness of motion, vibration resistance and motion hysteresis reduction. New Way air bushings handily meet those requirements. In Technical Report 3 – The Application of Damped Air Bearings for Machine Tools, we discuss how air bearings and bushings exhibit a remarkably positive correlation between stiffness and damping, virtually unheard of in machines designed with traditional contact bearings.
3. Automotive Component & Vehicle Testing
As manufacturing tolerance requirements tighten, air bushings provide a frictionless alternative for use in test equipment. Applications of these bush bearings range from automotive component integrity to integrated vehicle operations. With no moving parts, the air bushings do not contribute errors from vibration or heat like traditional mechanical bushings. This allows manufacturers to get an accurate read on performance in critical areas:
- Frame Integrity
Additionally, the repeatability inherent to Porous Media Technology provides manufacturers with an increased confidence in their product’s true performance. These reasons are why New Way has been chosen for use in high-performance, dynamic-test actuators for the racing industry.
Turbine operations are ideal assemblies for using air bushings. The 360° film of air provides true rotation of the shaft, enabling more efficient operation. Additionally, turbine operations with air bushings benefit from no wear and tear, oil-free operation, and precision movement.
The next generation of power generation and delivery systems may very well be built on air bearings, and porous media offers the greatest benefits to the industry. In Technical Report 6 – Air Bearings for High Power Turbomachinery, we cover the work of Bugra Ertas of General Electric’s research center. There, he discusses how the need for high-damping, high-load bearing technology positions hydrodynamic bearings as the best foundation for future turbomachinery development.
Bushings are prominent throughout roll-to-roll manufacturing operations. A change from traditional bushings to air bushings significantly improves energy and maintenance costs, creating more efficient operations. Air bushings can also easily be retrofitted into existing converting systems by coupling the bushing with a pillow block housing unit.
These are just a few examples of what a bushing can be used for. Our Customer Proven Solutions page provides additional applications from real New Way customers of air bushings in rotary and linear-stage applications as well as other air bearing products.
Systems don’t need to be built from the ground up for air bushings to benefit from their remarkable characteristics. New Way offers a wide array of retrofitting and custom bearing services to ensure you can easily drop in our products into your current system. Virtually every product in our catalog can be manufactured to meet your specifications, and with appropriate mounting points to accommodate your current configuration.
Ready to Learn More?
New Way has a free infographic available entitled Air Bushings 101. This informative guide is the next step to understanding what an air bushing is, and how they can be used for improving your manufacturing.
With a standard line of metric and English sized air bushings, as well as custom orders, New Way is confident we can help meet your unique needs. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation to get started!