Air bushings deliver frictionless performance

08 March 2019

IBS Precision Engineering is the official distributor for New Way Air Bearings. Hear from Sam Cockerill, CEO, and Founder of Libertine FPE Limited about why they chose these Air Bushings for their innovative high-performance dynamic test actuator.

Libertine FPE Limited, an innovative leader in linear power systems, selected our Air Bushings for use in their high dynamic test actuators. Originally developed for a customer in the racing industry, the test actuator offers the ability to test responses to input vibrations affecting critical design features such as frame integrity, torque, and fatigue.

“Friction was such a key part of the overall system performance,” said Sam Cockerill, CEO, and Founder of Libertine. Libertine engineers had previous experience with various dry bearings, including polymer and graphite bearings. However, to meet the stringent performance requirements for this high-dynamic test actuator, an air bearing solution with minimal friction and hysteresis was necessary. Cockerill knew it was necessary to “invest in a technology that we knew would be capable of meeting that requirement.”

Cockerill and his team at Libertine began investigating air bearing solutions. Given the low and cyclical nature of their linear speeds, they focused on the two options in the aerostatic realm: drilled (i.e. orifice-based) or porous media. After consulting IBS and gathering some initial results with a porous media bearing, Cockerill’s team said they felt comfortable “this porous bearing was the right solution” for the test actuator.

Libertine integrated the air bushings with a high-performance electrical machine, along with a preload device. The non-contact nature of the air bushings aided in reproducing accurate road conditions to evaluate issues such as noise/ vibration in the automotive design. Cockerill and team not only demonstrated the performance of their technology but then were able to create and license intellectual property around the test actuator.

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