Air bearings

Air Bushings deliver frictionless performance for Libertine's Linear Power Systems

3 minutes reading - published on October 1, 2020

Hear from Sam Cockerill, CEO, and Founder of Libertine FPE Limited about why they chose these porous media 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.”

Selecting an Air Bearing Solution

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.

air bushingsThe use of the Air Bushings in the test actuator was “overall, a pretty positive result,” stated Cockerill.

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.

Three Benefits of Working with IBS Precision Engineering and New Way

Not only was Libertine able to achieve the performance they were looking for, but they experienced a number of other benefits during the development of the test actuator.

  • Modularity

Cockerill noted a key benefit of the products is their “flexibility to incorporate these bearings with a number of different electrical machine types.” The modularity of the air bushings enabled Libertine to easily integrate air bushings within their design assembly.

  • Off-the-Shelf

The products are available as standard off-the-shelf stock. “When we come to making repeat builds, we don’t have to incur a two, four, or six week lead time,” remarked Cockerill.

  • Customization

Later in the development process, Libertine approached IBS Precision Engineering regarding a custom modification. Together we were “able to accommodate”, said Cockerill, commenting on the positive experience this flexibility provided through the design process.


A New Way to a Bright Future

As far as working with IBS Precision Engineering and New Way, “The experience for us has been a positive one,” remarked Cockerill. Cockerill is excited about the future for Libertine. The success of the test actuator utilizing New Way Air Bushings demonstrated “a significant feature for a number of areas of our future development,” Cockerill says.

At IBS Precision Engineering and New Way, we do not only provide standardized high-performing non-contact air bearings, but we also work directly with customers to accommodate their unique requirements. We are proud to be an integral part of Libertine’s success.

If you’d like to join companies like Libertine who are realizing the benefits of air bearings, contact us today to determine the right air bearing for your application!

Picture of IBS Precision Engineering
published October 1, 2020

IBS Precision Engineering