Air Bearing Spindles for Image Scanning

Featured Product from ABTech, Inc.

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18,000 RPM Air Bearing Spindles for Image Scanning in Harsh Conditions

The Challenge that faced ABTech:

Design an inspection system for a European high-speed rail system – that must function accurately in harsh conditions while moving 75 mph.

ABTech Inc. designed a set of three high?speed air bearing spindles that were synchronized for the 3dimensional image scanning and inline inspection. To inspect the track, switches, tunnels and bridges for potential maintenance issues., the system was mounted on a dedicated rail car traveling at 75 mph allowing the spindles to create a 3D image of the rail every 10 cm (less than 4″).

ABTech's Design Solution:

To achieve the necessary rotational speeds of 18,000 rpm, the design incorporated individual direct drive brushless DC servo motors and encoders on each of the ultra precision air bearing spindles. To simulate the most extreme conditions, each spindle was tested, including vibration testing to 10 G’s, after being stored in a freezer overnight and then run at 180°F continuously for over 8 hours.

System Feature Summary

  • Synchronized ultra precision air bearing spindles
  • -Aluminum construction for low inertia
  • -Individual direct drive brushless DC servo motors
  • -High resolution rotary encoders
  • -50 mm clear apertures through the spindles
  • -45° fold mirrors
  • Vibration isolation platform Multi axis controller
  • Capacitance probe monitoring system.


Air Bearing Linear Stages
ABTech’s precision air bearing linear stages address the motion needs for a full range of part sizes and weights. Built for the most demanding applications, every stage provides ultra-smooth motion, sub-micron accuracy and absolute repeatability. Designed and manufactured in-house to extremely tight geometric tolerances, air bearings have no mechanical contacting parts to wear or create drag. This affords forgiveness from minor accidental touch downs that may result from low air pressure, excessive loading, or operator error.

Our linear stages come standard with dual element filter/regulators and are commonly used as the core axis in a wide range of applications where smooth and repeatable motion is desired. They are ideal as stand-alone units and/or multi-axis assemblies, for position measurements, optical scanning, light machining and grinding, and more.

ABTech’s quality, accuracy, and design flexibility are the reasons our air bearings are meeting the ultra-precision motion demands.

Precision motion comes in many forms and applications, each with their own set of pertinent specifications. Diversity in today’s applications creates unique requirements, we provide configura¬tion flexibility as an integral part to our design philosophy. All linear stages can be customized with a variety of options and accessories including motor drives, vacuum carriage top, high-resolution optical encoders, digital readout (DRO) displays, inspection-grade granite surface plates and more.

In addition to the options and accessories, the material selection of linear stages is a key focus of our applications engineers. For harsher environments, best accuracy, precision and stability we use hardened stainless-steel air bearing components. If your application requires quick motion with high acceleration and deceleration, we can utilize the weight reduction of hardcoated aluminum construction. Our precision motion experts will work closely with you to configure a linear motion solution that will meet your exact needs.

Features & Benefits:

Accurate, Repeatable, Smooth Motion
Air bearings provide significant advantages over mechanical bearings or other approaches to linear motion. Because they have no mechanical contacting parts to wear, or create drag, air bearings are close to frictionless, providing ultra-smooth, repeatable and maintenance-free motion. Manufactured with tight geometric tolerances, our standard air bearings stages are able to deliver arcsecond pitch, roll and yaw.

Superior Durability
ABTech uses hardened 440C stainless steel components to maximize productivity with applications that require integrating motion systems into production and assembly processes with exposure to harsher environments. Durability of our stages affords forgiveness for minor accidental touch downs resulting from low oil pressure or excessive loading. If an accident occurs, often the bearing needs repair rather than replacement.

Configuration Flexibility to Meet Your Specific Needs
Part of our “Pride in Precision” philosophy means providing you with the precise solution needed. We don’t believe selling our customers more, or less, than what their application calls for. Each ABTech Linear Stage is designed and built per your specific needs. There is not a standard specifications sheet or drawings on our website. Each linear stage is uniquely adapted to our customer, therefore expectations are always met and exceeded. For over two decades working with our customers we’ve developed a broad range of options and accessories to address the majority of ultra-precision motion applications. (See options and accessories for a complete list.)
No matter how broad our product options, we realize they don’t address every possible application. Our precision motion experts will work closely with you to configure a rotary motion solution that will meet your exact needs.

Watch>>ABTech Custom Design Solutions

ABTech specializes in unparalleled expertise in the design and development of ultra-precision motion systems and metrology solutions. Our custom metrology gages, air bearing rotary tables, and turnkey multi-axis systems are designed, engineered, and manufactured entirely in-house, giving our customers flexibility at every stage from concept through delivery. Our measurement systems are ideal for applications ranging from precision optics, automotive, aerospace, aviation, and semiconductor to name a few.