Noncontact air bearings in the textiles and composites manufacturing sector
A natural extension of New Way’s successful non-contact flat panel display (FPD) glass conveyor systems, the organization has already developed a number of products which enable non-contact web handling. This includes our radial air bearing product line. You’ll find more specific information about such applications below. More importantly, New Way already has other web handling concepts in research and development, and does not shy away from development partners looking for solutions that can only be provided by our Porous Media™ technology.
New Way’s newly developed radial air bearings provide a non-contact web-handling process especially suited to the manufacture of flexible displays, the process of polymer deposition and the production of flexible-substrate photovoltaic (PV solar) materials.
With New Way radial segment air bearings, a flexible web can be turned, or carried, on a thin (5µm) layer of air, which creates a stiff and repeatable support. This non-contact control allows for web conveyance speeds of up to 100 meters-per-second.
In critical web applications, the issue of stress and strain on the web are eliminated with a non-contact surface, because issues regarding imperfect speeds of the web and carrier wheel are eliminated, resulting in minimal induced stresses. Warp and weft concerns are also minimized, since the web is allowed to find its own path over an air film.
Sizing is made easy with New Way radial air bearings, as an optimal radius can be selected to minimize bending stresses for performance. Bearing sizes can accommodate a turning radius of up to a 3 meters in diameter, or as little as 12 mm. Placement of the bearings in your web is simple, too, as there is no constraint regarding orientation.
Clean, filtered shop air is required to power the bearings at 60PSI or 0.41MPA pressure, and multiple air rail systems can be utilized.
A non-contact surface acting as an anvil with which to perform operations can be useful in the analysis and inspection of flexible webs and tapes, as well as deposition or photolithography processing type applications. New Way radial air bearings exhibit extremely repeatable fly heights to the sub-micron level, allowing critical web analysis and inspection. This is extremely helpful in maintaining the focal point for laser processing or optical inspection.
New Way air bearings are used in many types of cleanroom environments — particulation is rarely an issue – and, because the air is diffused through millions of sub-micron sized holes, do not contribute significantly to air currents and eddies. Some New Way products can even be used submerged in various media for wet chemical etching and cleaning processes. Consult with New Way Technical Support for details.