Air bearings offer numerous advantages over mechanical bearings such as profiled linear guides and crossed roller slides. But they are still considered by many designers and engineers to be a high-cost solution, primarily for niche applications that require extreme precision. However, their benefits include more than just high precision, and cost is being driven down by an increase in the number of manufacturers and advances in materials and manufacturing for the precision bearing surfaces.
To demonstrate how air bearings are becoming more common in industrial equipment and processes, here are some of the benefits they provide and the applications they serve.
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