Air Bearings Market: Focus Remains on Precision and Energy Efficiency

Industry 4.0 has transformed numerous sectors with greater inclination towards automation, accuracy, and performance improvements. The transition to faster speeds, greater outputs, and larger volumes in automated machinery is prompting the use of technologies such as shock and vibration mitigation. This has strengthened innovations in shock absorbers, air bearings, vibration dampers, and other devices, which run the gamut from faster response-designs to smart technologies.

Precision machining and the use of high-speed equipment have created the demand for next-gen solutions that support consumer requirements for high-level performance, bringing air bearings into focus. Recognizing the potential of the air bearings industry, Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its recent study, sheds light on the extensive application of air bearings, and highlights the key developments made by various competitors in the air bearings market.

air bearings market competitors winning strategies

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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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Key Trends Impacting the Air Bearings Market

Developments in Precision Technology to Fuel Demand

Precision is emerging as a hallmark of the new era of industrialization. The advent of precision machining across a number of application sectors, owing to the increasing need for accuracy, have generated demand for effective components that allow seamless operations. These components are becoming the first-choice for manufacturers, as such, bringing air bearings into the limelight. Precision machining tools are crucial in designing and creating tools, machines, and other industry components to provide dynamic stability and accuracy. As air bearings have lower frictional drag, they are used in precision machining tools, as such, making high speed at lower vibrational levels achievable.

Technological Advancements Improve Capabilities

Technological developments act as catalyst for innovations in the air bearings industry. While air bearings help greater throughput for a variety of machines, manufacturers continue to utilize technological advancements to improve the efficacy of air bearings. Air bearings used in various machinery need to be monitored and tested periodically, in an attempt to ensure reliability, consistency, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of the operations. With advancements in the technology of air bearings, future vehicles could be designed with an array of frictionless motion solutions to overcome the challenges in vehicle testing, which is expected to boost global automotive sales.

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Growing Prevalence of Micromachining

Micromachining and nanotechnology play a majorly decisive role in the miniaturization of components, ranging from biomedical applications to sensors and chemical micro-reactors. High performance micromachining centers require extreme control of force and speed. Micromachining equipment manufacturers that require tight control of small incremental movements along with high speeds, low forces, and extreme level resolution and repeatability are recognizing the benefits of air bearing technology that is used to provide zero friction counterbalancing.

Emphasis on Energy and Operational Efficiency

The need for energy and operational efficiency in modern machines continues to be a priority for manufacturers. The low maintenance, silent operations, and low energy consumption of air bearings are garnering the attention of manufacturers. Their contribution towards reduced operational costs, optimum energy consumption, and accuracy allows manufacturers to achieve the desired sustainability.

air bearings market

Air Bearings Market: Competitors’ Winning Strategies

Enlarge Footprint in China

China is cited as a hub of opportunities for air bearings market players. This scope is attributed to the massive consumption of semiconductors in China, on account of the rapid expansion of the smartphone industry. Another aspect of this economy capturing the attention of air bearing manufacturers is the expanding automotive industry, regarding both, production as well as consumption. As air bearings have gained significant applicability in the global automotive industry, growing footprints in China could be an ideal profit-churning strategy.

Meet Precision Requirements across Varied Applications

The unique properties of air bearings aid in delivering ultra-precision motion and positioning, eliminating wear and the need for lubricants, making them ideal for varied applications. Companies operating in the air bearings market emphasize the development of products that meet the precision requirements across a slew of applications. Partnerships and collaborations that support this goal are considered on a large scale, where portfolio expansion remains a primary tactic.

Develop Advanced Products through R&D

Increasing focus on R&D to ensure meeting next-gen consumer needs is another winning imperative. Consumer requirements are changing with the advent of technological developments that create advanced electronics, optical products, and automobiles, which are likely to influence the production of air bearings.

Air Bearings Market: Competitive Overview

Key players operating in the air bearings market implement various policies to survive in the market, as the industry is highly competitive. Counterfeit products possess a major threat to the industry, as established players provide quality air bearings at higher costs. New entrants will face high barriers, as the manufacturing of air bearings requires extreme precision, and customers perceive the established players to be better equipped to meet such requirements. This could be tackled via improvements in the manufacturing process by concentrating efforts towards precision in production. New entrants must focus on accuracy and geometric-precision in their production processes while competing with experienced market players.

APG-Neuros recently announced that it would be Neuros Co. Ltd’s exclusive supplier of high-speed turbo blowers in Latin America, where it would expand its processes and offer new after-market and sales support of the Neuros brand NC series and NX series products.

In April 2019, Air Bearings Ltd. entered into an agreement with Windirs Technology Co., Ltd, which provides repair services for different bearing brands. With this agreement, the former aims to provide repair services for dicing spindles in Taiwan.

In January 2019, Bladon Micro Turbine partnered with GRIDSERVE®, an international operator and provider of critical power infrastructure solutions. With this partnership, Bladon foresees further progress in its efforts to provide ultra-efficient, long-life distributed power to telecom towers across the globe.

air bearings market segmentation

Analysts’ Viewpoint of the Air Bearings Landscape

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. 

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  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the air bearings market for the historical period of 2017-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, the increasing demand for maximizing energy efficiency is expected to bolster the growth of the global air bearings market during the forecast period.
  • Globally, revenue generated by the air bearings market is estimated to reach ~ US$ 8 Bn in 2019, and expand at a CAGR of ~ 7% in terms of value throughout the forecast period. 

Increasing Adoption of Air Bearings Amongst Various End Users: A Key Driver 

  • Most end users such as automotive, aerospace, semiconductors, optics, metrology, oil and gas, and medical are using high-precision tools and spindles in manufacturing to expand their capacities. These tools require the use of air bearings, thereby increasing their industry demand.
  • Air bearings are now also being used in semiconductor manufacturing, which requires high speed, short-stroke precision with repeatable nanometer level positioning, and a controlled environment. In optics, air bearings are used for ultra- precision positioning and motion with no lubricants or wear for demanding optical applications. 

Technological Advancements to Drive the Demand for Air Bearings

  • Air bearings used in various machinery need to be monitored and tested continuously in order to ensure reliability, consistency, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of the operations. With extensive R&D and technological advancements, the demand for hovercrafts, electronic products, aeronautics, and high-end audio is expected to surge, and consequently, will offer lucrative opportunities to the manufacturers of air bearings.
  • With advancements in the technology of air bearings, future vehicles can be designed with an array of frictionless motion solutions to overcome the challenges in vehicle testing, which is expected to increase automotive sales across the globe.  

Air Bearings Market: Competition Landscape

  • Detailed profiles of the manufacturers of air bearings have been provided in the report to evaluate their financials, key product offerings, recent developments, and strategies.
  • Key players operating in the global air bearings market include Air Bearings Ltd., APG-Neuros, Bladon Jets, Capstone Turbine Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., Hovair Systems Inc., IBS Precision Engineering, LAB Motion Systems, Specialty Components Inc., SKF, Seagull Solutions Inc., R&D Dynamics Corporation, PI Nelson Air Corp, OAV Air Bearings, Mohawk Innovative Technology Inc., and Leuven Air Bearings NV.

Air Bearing Market: Key Developments

Key manufacturers in the air bearings market such as SKF, Air Bearings Ltd., IBS Precision Engineering, and PI Nelson Air Corp. are strengthening their overseas sales structure by increasing their production capacities. Some other key developments in the air bearings market are as follows:

  • In November 2018, Honeywell announced that it completed the acquisition of warehouse automation solutions provider Transnorm. Honeywell acquired Germany-based Transnorm from IK Investment Partners for approximately €425 million.
  • In June 2018, SKF and Siemens signed a partnership agreement that will focus on improving train operators’ asset management efficiencies. This cooperation which leverages the resources of SKF’s Digitalization initiative will facilitate the on-line monitoring of several important components such as wheel set bearings and wheels.
  • In December 2017, SKF and ArcelorMittal singed a multilayer framework agreement. According to this agreement, SKF will supply ArcelorMittal with bearings, bearing units, seals, and remanufacturing services across 14 countries in Europe and Northern Africa.
  • In September 2017, Leuven Air Bearings NV announced the new Compact Rotary Stage product (RT075S) in the line of Rotary Air Bearing Stages. Lightweight and compact structure made this product highly attractive.

In the global air bearings market report, we have discussed individual strategies, followed by company profiles of the manufacturers of air bearings. The ‘Competitive Landscape’ section is included in the air bearings market report to provide readers with a dashboard view and a company market share analysis of the key players operating in the global air bearings market.

TMR recently published a report on the air bearings market that provides readers with an overall market overview with the help of an extensive market analysis. The TMR study on the air bearings market evaluates the market on the basis of historical and current market scenario, and offers a forecast for the period of 2019 to 2027. Report audiences are able to make key business decisions with the help of the exclusive insights and crucial findings pertaining to the air bearings market. TMR’s study includes an assessment of the air bearings market dynamics that have an impact on the future of the market, providing a detailed understanding of the industry trends and developments made by key competitors in the air bearings market. This TMR report is divided into key sections, allowing readers to gain a detailed understanding of the individual aspects of the report on the air bearings market.

Air Bearings Market: Taxonomy  

Type

Speed Capacity

Application

End User

Region

Aerostatic Bearings

<1,000 rpm

Precision Material Tools

Aviation/Space

North America

Aerodynamic Bearings

1,000 – 60,000 rpm

Coordinate Measuring Machines

Medical

Europe

 

>60,000 rpm

High Speed Machines

Automotive

Asia Pacific

 

 

Others

Semiconductor

Middle East & Africa

 

 

 

Wastewater Management

South America

 

 

 

Others

 

Key Questions Answered in the Air Bearings Market Report

  1. How much revenue will the air bearings market generate in the coming five years?
  2. Which product type of air bearings will be a preferred choice among end users?
  3. What are the key trends that are likely to shape the future of the air bearings market?
  4. What are the key developments carried out by leading air bearings market players?
  5. Which region will offer significant growth opportunities for air bearings market players in the coming years?

The TMR study on the air bearings market begins with a preface that provides readers with a brief market overview that includes the definition and scope. This section further discusses the research objective and highlights, allowing readers to gain a concise glance into the market for air bearings. The next chapter includes the executive summary, which provides a brief summary of the key aspects covered in the report on the air bearings market. Following the executive summary is the market overview that highlights the various aspects regarding the air bearings market, which include key market dynamics such as trends, drivers, and opportunities, and also discusses the key restraining factors of the market. This chapter also offers five forces analysis, industry SWOT analysis, and value chain assessment.

The next chapter offers a segmentation analysis of the air bearings market. This section begins with a definition of segments, where the air bearings market is segmented on the basis of product type, speed capacity, application, end user, and region. This section offers an evaluation of the key segments in the air bearings market and inclusion of year-on-year growth projection, along with a basis point share analysis that further helps clients identify lucrative areas.

The next section in the TMR report provides a regional assessment of the air bearings market. The segment-wise and country-level assessment of individual regions helps readers estimate regional potential opportunities pertaining to the air bearings market. The regional analysis allows industry players to make strategic decisions in terms of expansion and investments. This section is a significant part of the report on the air bearings market, backed by year-on-year growth projections, and global value and volume share.

The report on the air bearings market concludes with an extensive competitive analysis that allows readers to analyze the competition in the air bearings market. This sections highlights the nature of the air bearings market with the help of the market share held by leading and entry-level players. The section offers a market glance with the help of a dashboard view that helps understand the developments carried out by leading air bearings market players and the strategies adopted by them. It states the performance of the key players in the market, featuring the focus areas of the air bearings market players. Additionally, the competitive structure of prominent players in the air bearings market is also discussed in the study.

Research Methodology

The TMR analysis on the air bearings market is based on a detailed evaluation of the market with the help of extensive research. This in-depth analysis is backed by primary and secondary research, which includes a competitive assessment to help readers gain a comprehensive idea of the air bearings market. An evaluation of the historical and current market for air bearings with focus on key market segments and major regions is provided in the report. Readers can access the air bearings market report to gain a forecasted market assessment for the period of 2019 to 2027.

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