When a customer comes to Professional Instruments Company with an air bearing application, we usually try to provide a solution from our standard line of spindles. Occasionally a customer will have a set of specifications far enough outside of our standard lines that we must design and build a spindle specific to their application. Our engineering and manufacturing staff combines years of experience with a genuine enthusiasm for problem solving. The range of custom air bearing spindles produced at Professional Instruments Company over the last 35 years is mind boggling. Hemispherical bearings, dual diameter bearings, custom BLOCK-HEAD® spindles, air pad spindles, and even spindles that operate in vacuum have been built. The long history of Professional Instruments Company includes custom spindle making almost all the way back to the beginning in 1946.
The need for special materials is a common reason for producing a custom spindle. Many applications in the disk drive, semiconductor, and gravity research fields require non-magnetic structures. We commonly produce spindles made from aluminum, and use nonmagnetic fasteners. Sometimes very low-expansion materials such as Invar are used to achieve rigid thermal-expansion requirements. Graphite and ceramic are used in applications where a robust or high-specific-stiffness structure is required. Applications such as liquid-mirror telescopes require spindles with load capacities well outside of our standard line of spindles. Professional Instruments Company has built custom spindles capable of supporting loads as high as 15,000 pounds and speeds to 60,000 rpm. Some applications including custom LVDTs and smaller disk drive products require very compact spindle assemblies. The most common reason to choose a custom spindle is cost. If production quantities reach 25 spindles or more, a custom-designed solution can be a cost-effective way to get exactly what you want in an air bearing spindle. The wide range of air bearing structures available, and the variety of materials and compensation techniques, makes Professional Instruments Company the place to come to for your custom spindle needs.