The flexible web market serves a broad range of products, including:
Mass production of these varied material types requires stringent precision, as well as a manufacturing method to avoid contamination and damage to the product. These substrates require bearings capable of operating across a variety of environments, from high-temperature conditions to cleanroom settings.
New Way® offers Porous Media™ air bearing alternatives to traditional components used in the flexible web market, including:
Flexible web handling with air bearings is a natural extension of New Way’s successful non-contact Flat Panel Display (FPD) glass conveyor systems. Built on our foundational Porous Media Technology™, pressurized air is distributed through porous carbon, creating a stiff, thin layer of air to deliver superior precision. With millions of sub-micron sized holes, the air film is even, eliminating pressure gradients known for causing contamination and wrinkles.
With a standard product line available to accommodate a variety of roll-to-roll needs, New Way’s air bearings can overcome the unique challenges facing the flexible web market.
New Way Air Turns provide a thin and stiff air layer on a cylindrical surface, enabling the movement of the substrate up to 180° bending angle. Air Turns deliver significant advantages over web turn bars. By avoiding any mechanical contact with the substrate, defects and contamination in roll-to-roll production of flexible materials are greatly reduced.
Air Turns accommodate a wide range of materials by simply adjusting the air pressure to control fly height and tension based on the material thickness. The even distribution of air removes the need to mask/unmask holes prevalent with web turn bars. Several standard sizes are offered to cover a wide range of operating conditions, including those with high-temperature environments.
Spherical Air Bearings offer a non-contact method to support heavy downward loads operating with a level of misalignment. Friction is removed by supporting a sphere with a thin layer of air, offering nano-level precision. No lubrication is required and New Way’s spherical air bearings can easily be removed since there are no associated bearing housings to disassemble.
Thrust Bushings are a natural extension of New Way Air Bushings and can be used in place of roller ball bearings. A porous carbon thrust face encased in aluminum housing is added to the air bushing to provide axial constraint. The use of air in the bushing and thrust face allow for high speed operations without friction or the need for maintenance.
All of these products are offered in standard sizes, with custom options available.
Air bearings offer a host of benefits ideal for managing flexible web production: