Home » Applications » Markets » Aerospace Manufacturing

Aerospace Manufacturing

 

Air Bearings for Aerospace Manufacturing and Testing

New Way Air Bearings ® is always on the forefront of innovation, both within our facilities and in enabling the development of other technologies through the use of our patented Porous Media Technology™. Whether it be civil or defense, in atmosphere or hard vacuum, precision motion is crucial to developing these technologies, and we see the immense potential for Porous Media in all of these applications. That’s why we’re excited for the incredible potential of New Way products in the aerospace industry.

An Industry Ready for Innovation

The aerospace industry is massive, spanning from legacy consumer aviation to the nascent 6th generation of multirole fighter jets, from the newly emergent private space launch industry to hypersonic technologies which will define our defense infrastructure for decades to come. Here’s where air bearings stand to make the largest impact.

A satellite orbits Earth with lights visible from the surface

Additive Manufacturing and Fiber Laying in Aerospace

Both additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) and in-house fiber laying of composite materials are increasingly standard manufacturing practices for OEMs looking to consolidate their production sources, reduce part rejection, and decrease overhead. Per General Electric, Boeing expects to save almost 3 million dollars per aircraft owing to additively produced parts. Large-scale additive manufacturing and fiber placement robots require straightness of motion along multiple axes simultaneously, a task which conventional bearings struggle with.

Quality Control and Inspection

Air Bearings were originally designed for checkmate coordinate measuring machines, and for automated inspection stages, air bearings offer a precision of motion fundamentally unmatched by roller or ball bearings, elements hamstrung by their own internal inertia. For ultra-high-precision processes such as torque assessment, the near-infinite resolution of air bearings provides solutions for an increasingly demanding industry.

Satellite Testing and Zero Gravity Simulation

Because air bearings float over their guide surface on a micrometer thin air cushion, they provide a uniquely perfect platform for zero gravity test stages, both for testing satellite thrusters and the development of their automated control laws.

Applications

Linear Motion

New Way offers numerous products for enabling precision motion along 1, 2 or 3 axes. Two bearings define a line, and 3 may define a plane, as we outline in our Designer’s E-Book. Flat round and rectangular air bearings may easily be retrofitted to existing guide surfaces, while our linear slides offer purpose-built systems for continuously-supported, end-supported and space-conscious applications.

Rotor Balancing

Where it comes to balancing rotors for turboshaft and turbofan engines, New Way offers our radial air bearings and balance bearings for unmatched performance. The angular momentum imparted onto roller bearings can skew the balancing operation, but air bearings are frictionless, and actively center the rotor along its axis of rotation.

Benefits

Precision

Air bearings are a uniquely precise technology, owing to the lack of internal inertia. This property is intrinsic to ball bearings, roller bearings and any type of contact motion system. As a result of their Frictionless Motion®️, air bearing positioning is only limited by the motor and encoder driving the stage, a valuable asset for machining and manufacturing flight-ready components.

Scalability

Air bearings come in numerous sizes and can be manufactured to your custom specifications. They’re also scalable, or may be placed in parallel to support heavier loads. This is especially valuable for rotor balancing, but the principle may be applied to linear motion as well.

Cleanroom Compliance

The production of flight critical components as well as processes like metal-to-composite bonding may require cleanroom conditions to ensure there is no chance of particulate infiltration into the bonding surfaces. While traditional bearings will eventually degrade and eject their lubricant and race material into the environment, air bearings feature zero-contacting components and a microperforated bearing face which functions as a sub micron filter. As such, they are naturally cleanroom compatible up to ISO 1 standards.

Contact Us

If you’d like to learn more about what air bearings can offer to the aerospace sector, or already have an application in mind, please contact us!


Applications
Linear Motion
precision machine tool
Linear Motion

For unparalleled straightness of motion over metal or stone guideways.

Rotor Balancing
rotor balancing
Rotor Balancing

Air Bearings provide a precise axis of rotation for rotor balancing operations.


Products
Balance Bearings
balance bearing
Balance Bearings

Flat Rectangular Air Bearings
rectangle bearings
Flat Rectangular Air Bearings

Flat Round Air Bearings
round bearings
Flat Round Air Bearings

Radial Air Bearings
radial bearings
Radial Air Bearings

Contact us today for a complimentary consultation