Typical Surface Finish
Surface Grinding: < 0.05 micron (2 micro-inch) CLA.
Diamond Turning or Fly Cutting Acrylics and Soft Metals: < 0.012 microns (0.5 micro inch) CLA, allowing consistent optical quality.
Typical Air Bearing Stiffness Values
Axial: up to 250 N/micron (1,400,000 lb/in) .
Radial: up to 580 N/micron (3,300,000 lb/in).
Fig 5 – Comparison of rolling element and air bearing stiffness .
Long Bearing Life
With no mechanical contact and a clean air supply, free from oil and water, bearing life is dramatically increased.
The absence of any metal-to-metal contact within the bearings ensures practically unlimited life, provided the air supply is clean and free from oil and water. In addition, due to the nature of operation, air bearings provide a constant air purge out from the ends of the bearings, creating a natural barrier to the ingress of harmful external contaminants such as material debris or cutting fluids. This increases machine utilisation and minimises down-time, resulting in an increase in overall efficiency.
Fig 6 – Comparison between bearing life of a ball bearing and an air bearing .
Low Thermal Growth
Low friction, constant air flow and efficient power transmission result in minimal thermal growth.