Evolution of the Air Bearings Industry
From early orifice bearings to porous media air bearings, the air bearings industry has undergone notable developments. Previously, motion applications were seamlessly well-addressed by mechanical bearing guidance. However, the need for angular repeatability, precision, and geometric performance shifted end users’ attention towards air bearings. With the use of one of its preloaded mechanisms; and eliminating mechanical contact that prevents friction, hysteresis effects, and wear; the air bearing stage was considered a relatively viable solution.
Similar shift of preference was witnessed with rolling-element bearings. From rolling-element bearings being the verified and best-fit technology that served various motion control applications, consumers have shifted to air bearings for their technical benefits, when it comes to meeting requirements such as precision motion and accurate performance.
Air bearings overcome various challenges associated with conventional bearings, which include lubricant handling, friction, and wear. Their distinctive advantages in high-speed applications and precision machining are positioning air bearings on a growth trajectory. Revenue generated by the air bearings market was US$ 7.6 Bn in 2018, and the market is expected to expand at a CAGR of ~ 7% in terms of value throughout the forecast period. The growing use of high-precision tools and spindles in the manufacturing of vehicles has resulted in major demand for air bearings, creating growth opportunities for market players.
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TMR analysts have a positive viewpoint regarding the potential of the air bearings market. Product development and partnerships are some of the main strategies adopted by key players to gain a competitive edge, where the focus remains on addressing precision and energy efficiency requirements. Leading players emphasize technological expertise and high investments in R&D to meet consumer demand. As there are a large number of existing players, new entrants need to establish strong distribution networks to market their products and compete with the existing competition.
The challenge of better and improved air bearing variants currently in the market could be battled with a focus on improving the capabilities of their offers. Companies aim to expand their business in the Asia Pacific and European regions to cater to the requirements in countries such as China, India, and many European countries, where the automotive industry continues to expand. Asia Pacific remains a vital geography for future expansion among leading air bearings market players, where collaborations and partnerships are aimed at distribution expansion in the region.
This post was originally published on Industry Mirror