Air Bearings and Air Bearing Stages
Below is a selection of air bearing stages. Each can be modified and configured to meet your specific needs. Contact us if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for. We can help you identify the right motion solution for your application.
About Air Bearing Technology
Air bearings provide the highest level of precision, and do so by floating on a thin film of air, typically one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. These frictionless bearings average the errors of the planar guideway that they float upon, providing even higher precision than that of mechanical guideways. Typical air bearing air supply requirements are 4 bar (400 kPa) of clean dry air, at a flow rate of around 2 SLPM per axis.
Air Bearing System Basics and Tips
While an air bearing stage can be paired with a friction screw or a ball screw, the preferred actuator technology is a linear motor, together with a linear encoder. This combination of 3 non-contact components (air bearing guideway, linear motor, and linear encoder) provides the highest possible level of performance.
With fine pitch linear optical encoders and deep arc-tan interpolation, resolutions of less than 1 nanometer are possible. The frictionless qualities of an air bearing allow a high-performance servo loop to be closed, providing the highest possible dynamic response. In addition, the non-contacting aspect of air bearings results in an essentially unlimited service life.
Air bearing systems can be scaled to a wide range of payloads, from ultra-miniature to very large, and despite the popular impression that they are very costly, air bearings can be designed that compare favorably in cost with more traditional guideway bearings, such as recirculating ball bearings. Dover Motion offers several standard air bearing stage product lines, and can also design custom air bearing solutions for your specific application.