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Motion control and equipment
Actuator design
Vacuum Technology
→ Air bearing stages

Air bearing stages

Mechatronics systems with very high positioning requirements are often limited by friction. Air bearings provide (near) frictionless motion. We have the knowledge and experience needed to apply common of-the-shelf airbearings and to design custom air bearings for your application.

Principle

Air bearings float on a thin layer of air. Parameters such as the dimensions of the bearing and the floating height influence the (dynamic) stiffness and damping of the air bearing.

To achieve a high stiffness (which is often desired), small floating heights ar often used. This can be achieved by applying a preload (e.g. magnetic, mass, opposing bearing, vacuum). Additionally, these small heights require accurate alignment and good surface qualities. We use design principles to ensure proper mounting and alignment.

Orifice vs. porous

The air can provided to the gap through a single small hole (orifice) or through a porous material. Both options have many pros and cons, such as:

  • Stiffness and damping
  • Flexibility of design
  • Predictability
  • Off-the-shelf availability
  • Robustness for damage (e.g. due to crashes)
  • etc.

Our engineers are capable of weighing these properties for every specific situation.

Air bearing competences
  • Selection and application of off-the-shelf bearings.
  • Design of custom bearings.
  • Calculation of static and dynamic stiffness and damping.
  • Interaction of bearings and system dynamics.
  • Dynamic characterization (measurement) of bearings stiffness and damping.
Project examples