In 2014, New Way Air Bearings®, based in Aston, Pennsylvania, bought many of the remaining assets of Bently Pressurized Bearing Company. One of New Way's strengths is to introduce gas bearing technologies into new industries. New Way® has over 25 years of experience manufacturing air bearings, which are used by the machine tool, semiconductor, medical and other industries. It is New Way's mission to expand upon the work of Don Bently, former owner of Bently Nevada and Bently Pressurized Bearing Company, and to further develop the Bently BearingsTM brand..
Don Bently died on Oct. 1, 2012, and is best known for developing eddy current probes and for his studies in the area of rotordynamics. After spending a lifetime of studying rotor instabilities, he was keen to develop techniques to actively control instabilities. Bently demonstrated that by changing input pressure, and hence the stiffness of his bearings, the natural frequency of the rotor system could be tuned away from instabilities, from outside the machine.
Drew Devitt, founder and chairman of New Way Air Bearings®, notes, “As I studied rotordynamics and bearing technology in the turbo industry, I was continually led to the works of Don Bently. Don saw the potential for externally pressurized gas bearings to replace hydrodynamic oil bearings, and even eliminate whip and whirl, simplifying rotordynamic issues. I believe that with New Way’s porous media technology I can make Don’s dream a reality, and overcome the limitations of the orifice technology he was using.”
Drew Devitt notes that from Don Bently's book The Fundamentals of Rotating Machinery Diagnostics (especially chapter 23), "the reasoning and equations are the technical foundation for dynamic models and ultimately the commercial success of the externally pressurized bearing technology we believe in".
Source for this page: Portions of the above are from Turbomachinery International, "New owner see wide potential in Bently's pressurized bearings", 27 August 2016.