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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Aerotech designs and manufactures motion control and positioning systems. Their air bearings are used in semiconductor equipment, fiberoptics, photonics, and other critical industrial automation applications. Aerotech products incorporate an active preload on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.
Isotech's AB air bearings feature borosilicate glass clyinders with a 9.3 mm to 32.5 mm bore, 14.3 mm to 50 mm outside diameter, 3.2 mm to 8.0 mm rod diameter, and 10 to 300 strokes. The piston is specially shaped stainless.
New Way designs and manufactures modular air bearings and integrated porous media solutions for OEM applications. Products include the original flat round porous media air bearing product line, as well as the rectangular configuration that was added to offer an integration alternative.