Technology and progress go hand in hand. As technology advances, innovators find new ways to push the limits of what is possible. As progress continues, new needs are realized and technology must advance to keep up. OAV Air Bearings is keenly aware of this relationship and is committed to providing new, innovative solutions to existing and emerging market needs.
Thrust bearings are integral parts of many modern machines. Like other rotary bearings, thrust bearings permit controlled rotation between two parts, though they are especially useful in applications that require a high axial load. Thrust bearings are ideal for many automotive, marine, and aerospace applications, such as supporting the wheels of a car as they rotate around the axle. Advancing technologies have allowed innovators to design and create machines that are capable of much more than ever thought possible. A need has arisen for thrust bearings with advanced capabilities, high precision, and longer lifespan. OAV has answered the call with its new, patent-pending Thrust Air Bearings!
At high speeds, traditional bearings experience two main problems. First, precision tends to decrease as speed increases. This is largely due to small geometric and surface finish errors. Since there is mechanical contact between imperfect bearing parts, the motion of the bearing will be skewed, especially at high speeds. In application that require precision, these small imperfections can greatly affect the bearing’s performance. Second, bearings tend to overheat as the limits of speed and endurance are tested. Since bearings consist of moving parts, they can generate a lot of friction when used at high speeds or for an extended period of time.
The excess heat causes additional strain on the bearing and the friction adversely affects the precision of the bearing. The most common solution to this issue is to lubricate the bearing, though this can be messy and requires that the bearings be cleaned regularly. The issues of precision and friction pose major obstacles to engineers and innovators that are exploring the possibilities of bearing technology.
OAV’s Air Bearing technology solves these two challenges. Instead of lubricant between moving parts of the bearing, OAV Air Bearings utilize the power of pressurized air. The bearing is created using porous graphite that contains millions of microscopic holes. Air is forced through the bearing, creating an air-film averaging affect that prevents mechanical contact between moving parts. The lack of contact between moving parts means that small geometric and surface errors do not effect the overall motion of the bearing, greatly increasing accuracy and precision. There is no friction, so air bearings will never overheat. Even in a situation in which air flow is interrupted, the natural lubricity of the graphite will slow the rotational movement gradually, preventing potential damage and ensuring safe operation even in critical environments. Absolutely no lubrication is needed, so bearings remain clean and contaminant free. Since there is no mechanical contact, friction, heat, or lubrication to wear down the bearing, bearings equipped with air bearing technology have an indefinite operating life. OAV Air Bearing technology ensures that bearings are precise, accurate, clean, and long-lasting.
The OAV Thrust Air Bushing is our latest application of our Air Bearing technology and one of OAV’s greatest innovations. For the first time, we have applied air bearing technology to a 3-way, frictionless surface.
The thrust bushing can be used in conjunction with face collars in order to keep the frictionless bearing at a specific, fixed location along the shaft. The clamp-on precision face collars lock the bushing in the location while the Thrust Bushing provides the frictionless surfaces that allow the shaft and system to rotate.
Even when a new, better technology is available, it is often not fully adopted right away because cost can be a deterrent. To avoid this issue, OAV has made our Thrust Air Bushing available. The bushing allows engineers to incorporate Air Bearing technology into pre-existing designs based on round shaft guides instead of building entirely new systems. Available configurations run on standard size shafting for fixed of linear motion while maximizing rotational motion with ultra precision and absolutely no friction. In this way, the benefits of our Air Bearing technology can be realized even if budgetary constraints won’t allow for an entirely new system.
OAV Thrust Air Bearings are available in Metric and English sizes. They are comprised of porous graphite and either Aerospace quality aluminum or titanium. If you have specialized requirements, our team can provide custom designs that are integrated into your product and accurate down to the nanometer.
Countless existing and emerging markets are beginning to realize a need for machines that are simply capable of more—more precision, more accuracy, more dependability, and more potential. Whatever the need, OAV is here to provide quality, reliable Air Bearings.