Emerging Industries Could See a New Way to Deliver Frictionless Motion
New Way® Air Bearings have found their way into many industries you know and love: CT scanners, automobile testing, optics fabrication, and, of course, metrology. But there are a few emerging industries that could still benefit from our Porous Media Technology™ and have yet to get in on the action.
Many of our off the shelf products can be easily integrated into your established applications. All of our air bearings are lightweight, low noise, low maintenance, and highly energy efficient. If you haven’t considered our proprietary porous carbon components for your applications, here are a few examples of industries that we think should make the switch.
- 3D Printing
Fabricating components using 3D Printers is becoming more common on both individual and mass production scales. The extruder or print head moves in the X and Y directions via belts or threaded rods. Belts have a tendency to wear out and threaded rods are heavy and expensive. New Way’s air bushings are lightweight and allow for precision motion along a shaft with no friction or wear. Air is passed through millions of submicron passageways and distributed uniformly along the surface of the bearing providing a self-centering force and stiff gaps for accurate linear motion along the shaft. Our air bushings have been successfully used in the semiconductor industry because they can achieve high-speed, short-stroke precision with repeatable sub-micron positioning, all while meeting clean-room compliance. This same precision can be easily applied to current 3D printing apparatuses.
- Mixing Applications
Processes that involved bulk solids and powders rely heavily on the quality of their seals. If particulates escape and get into your machinery, that can mean costly production downtime for clean up and maintenance. New Way offers New-Seal™ Air Bearings which rely on an external pressure source that is forced through our naturally porous carbon media. The bearing surfaces can get very close together without restricting the airflow so our seals can achieve much higher gap pressures than orifice bearings. If the pressure in your bearing gap is larger than the pressure of your process, nothing will be able to get past the air gaps, making particulate contamination a thing of the past.
- X-ray Imaging and Detection
Computed Tomography (CT) scanners have used air bearings successfully for medical imaging. The cleanroom compliant specifications that our bearings meet make them perfect for the healthcare field. But this technology can be used in other X-ray imaging and detection machines such as baggage scanners in airports. Our radial air bearings and spindles can achieve much higher rotation speeds of the X-ray rotor assembly than conventional bearings—up to 100 meters per second—so increased throughput and greater image resolution is guaranteed. They are also quiet and never wear so will rarely need maintenance and can be used anywhere. New Way’s air spindles utilize only one moving part, so sub-micron synchronous error motion is standard and asynchronous error is almost entirely eliminated. They are also low flow so do not require as much air as standard orifice air bearings. Our radial air bearings can achieve sub-nanometer precision positioning and high-speed, non-contact rotation of x-ray assemblies for imaging purposes.
- Slip Tables
Most slip tables, used for high frequency or high acceleration testing of products, rest a lightweight, flat bed on an oil film to achieve frictionless motion. The test bed is then vibrated or shook back and forth at very high frequencies. Oil films are messy and can end up contaminating the product you are trying to test. Placing the test bed on a cushion of air provided by our flat round air bearings, linear slides, or bonded bearings would eliminate the need for oil lubrication and remove the possibility of contamination. They also achieve high speeds while dampening unwanted vibrations so you can accurately test the resiliency of your products. All of our air bearings are completely frictionless meaning no heat is generated during motion. Mechanical bearings wear out easily and produce a high amount of heat which can ruin products and wastes energy. Since our bearings never make contact, there is no wear which means less maintenance downtime and continuous production.
If your process requires precise, slow, rotary motion, you’ll get better results if your turntables rely on a bed of air to provide frictionless rotation. Turntables are used in many applications from positioning telescopes and tracking their targets to industrial machinery. Our air bearings provide stable air gaps with little to no vibration. Air flow is not disrupted by scratches or minor damage, and components never come into contact so wear is eliminated. With little to no asynchronous and synchronous errors, you get smooth rotation and accurate positioning compared to conventional roller element bearings. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement from New Way about a new product that will change rotary motion.
Don’t get left behind! Contact our customer service technicians today to find out how New Way’s porous media air bearings can transform your application.