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Magnetic Bearing Myth Busters

Magnetic bearing actuators are too large to fit in my state-of-the-art machine.

Calnetix’s proprietary magnetic bearing systems with hybrid permanent and electric coil magnets are more compact, reject less heat and use less power than typical magnetic bearing systems.


Magnetic bearing system controllers require too much power and too much space.

Calnetix’s industry-leading magnetic bearing controllers are extremely compact and efficient despite providing all the required electrical and processing power for a typical system. For example, the Insight™ 3600 (/REF) has amplifier capacity of 3600 VA per channel, a 600 W power supply and outside dimensions of 127 x 406 x 508 mm (5 x 16 x 20 inches). This MBC has been applied to machines as diverse as a 250 lbm flywheel spinning at 37,000 rpm and a 100 lbm compressor rotor spinning at 50,000 rpm.


Magnetic bearing systems cannot work with high-speed machines.

Modern computing power combined with the unique Calnetix low eddy current loss homopolar bearing actuators allow full performance up to very high frequencies and speeds. Calnetix has commercial machines operating at speeds up to 70,000 rpm on magnetic bearings. In fact, magnetic bearings are better suited to high-speed operation than high-precision ball bearings.


Every unit must be tuned in the field, so you can’t have mass production.

Calnetix’s robust control schemes and automated sensor calibration features allow for mass produced units to be built without individual tuning.


Auxiliary bearings must be replaced often, driving up maintenance costs.

Calnetix’s auxiliary bearing design approach allows years between bearing replacements in a typical operating profile. Many machines on magnetic bearings never contact the backup bearings during operation. For machines with unsteady processes that can produce sudden overloads, Calnetix’s years of ongoing auxiliary bearing test programs provides the experience needed to maximize auxiliary bearing life as well.


Getting information out of the controller requires a computer specialist.

Calnetix’s customer oriented GUI allows an authorized user to connect a PC to the controller and immediately collect operating performance, past history and make changes to the system quickly and easily.


There are no commercial products with magnetic bearing systems.

AMBs have been in commercial rotating machinery for over 30 years. Calnetix has developed numerous magnetic bearing systems used in a wide variety of commercial systems. This includes high-efficiency blowers, high-speed compressors, aggressive environment Organic Rankine Cycle systems, and many more.


All the good magnetic bearing system technology comes from the large corporations who only support their own projects.

Calnetix has a core value of Innovation and Creativity and has developed solutions based on customer needs. As a technology specialist with a broad client list and not part of a larger conglomerate, Calnetix’s engineers operate closely with their customers to ensure that the final integrated system performs as the customer requires.