ASTON, Pennsylvania (Sept. 2, 2016)—New Way Air Bearings of Aston, Penn., has acquired the assets of Bently Pressurized Bearing Company of Minden, Nev., from Bently Enterprises LLC, according to a statement from New Way.
In the statement, New Way Chief Technical Officer Drew Devitt said the acquisition’s purpose involves combining former company owner and founder Don Bently’s advocacy of externally pressurized bearings with New Way’s porous gas bearing technology.
Founded in 1991, New Way Air Bearings has been manufacturing externally pressurized air bearings for the machine tool, semiconductor and medical industries. With 60 employees, the company exports half of total sales to high-tech regions of Europe and Asia.
Offering a full line of standard off-the-shelf air bushings and pads, the company also supplies original equipment manufacturers with custom products including heavy-duty spindles, high-speed bearings and support for rotating diagnostic X-ray equipment. New Way is also developing a line of gas bearings for direct replacement of fluid film oil bearings in large pumps and motors.
Don Bently, former owner and founder of Bently Nevada Corp. and Bently Pressurized Bearing Company, died on Oct. 1, 2012. Bently was known for developing eddy current probes and rotor dynamic theory, according to New Way’s statement. Bently also emphasized the importance of externally pressurized bearing technology in the evolution of turbo equipment. In 2002, the assets of Bently Nevada Corp. were acquired by a division of GE.
After spending extensive time studying rotor instabilities, Bently wanted to develop techniques to actively control the instabilities, according to the statement. Bently showed that by changing input pressure—the stiffness of his bearings—the natural frequency of the rotor system could be tuned away from instabilities.
In the New Way statement, Devitt said he shares Bently’s enthusiasm for the bearing technology. “With New Way’s gas bearing technology, we have overcome the limitations of the orifice technology Don was using and believe that we can make his dream a reality.” Devitt added, “We are quite actually taking a page out of Don’s book, ‘Fundamentals of Rotating Machinery Diagnostics.’ The reasoning and equations in his book … are the technical foundation for dynamic models and, ultimately, the commercial success of our externally pressurized bearing technology.”