Bearings • Air Bearings
Air bearings are a type of fluid bearing that utilizes a thin film or pressurized air in place of solid rolling elements to provide low-friction load bearing in which the two internal surfaces do not touch. The result is a bearing that has zero static friction, zero running friction, and high stiffness. To achieve this degree of stiffness, air bearings must be preloaded through the application of weight, vacuum, magnetic attraction, or an opposing air bearing.Due to these characteristics, most air bearings require little or no maintenance and have almost unlimited life, especially when compared to rolling element bearings that have higher viscosity, and thus, higher wear. They are also ideal for precision positioning and high speed applications since their contact-less operation eliminates backlash and static friction.Leading manufacturers: Nelson Air Corp., New Way Air Bearings, Airfloat, ABTech, Airsled, American Solving Inc., Professional Instruments Company
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ABTech manufactures a variety of precision air bearings and linear products for ultra precision motion applications. Products include manual linear air bearings manufactured from aluminum, steel, granite or ceramic; motorized linear air bearings; motorized mechanical air bearings for applications that do not require air bearing accuracies; and oil hydrostatic linear bearings for diamond turning, grinding and high precision positioning.
Precitech offers three models of air bearing spindles. The HS-75 features 600,000 lb/in (105 N/µm) axial stiffness. The HD-160 offers 2,000,000 lb/in (350 N/µm) axial stiffness. The SP-150 is designed for 1,314,000 lb/in (230 N/µm) axial stiffness.
Nelson offers a variety of slides, stages, tables, spindles, bushings, flat pad, and spherical air bearings.