Sean M. Coleman
Lincoln Laser Co., 234 E. Mohave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
A high capacity aerodynamic air bearing (HCAB) has been developed for the laser scanning market. The need for increasing accuracies in the prepress and print plate-making market is causing a shift from ball bearing to air bearing scanners. Aerostatic air bearings are a good option to meet this demand for better performance however, these bearings tend to be expensive and require an additional air supply, filtering and drying system. Commercially available aerodynamic bearings have been typically limited to small mirrors, on the order of 3.5” diameter and less than 0.5” thick. A large optical facet, hence a larger mirror, is required to generate the high number of pixels needed for this type of application. The larger optic necessitated the development of a high capacity ‘self-generating’ or aerodynamic air bearing that would meet the needs of the optical scanning market. Its capacity is rated up to 6.0” diameter and 1.0” thick optics. The performance of an aerodynamic air bearing is better than a ball bearing and similar to an aerostatic air bearing. It retains the low costs while eliminating the need for ancillary equipment required by an aerostatic bearing.