Synchrony Magnetic Bearings

Friction-less, Lubrication-Free Bearing Solutions

Though oil-lubricated and fluid film bearings are highly prevalent throughout the rotating equipment industry today, their maintenance-intensive nature is becoming less and less aligned with manufacturers, producers and service providers desire to cut costs, boost production and increase the environmental friendliness of industrial operations. Through technical advances in miniaturization and standardization, active magnetic bearing technology now offers a number of financial and operational benefits that conventional bearing technology is not capable of providing. Synchrony AMBs offer advantages when compared to other types of bearings.


Fluid film bearings lose energy in the form of heat, regardless of how efficient they are. Even in bearings coated with highly advanced lubricants, friction cannot be completely eliminated. Many manufacturers tout their bearings as “antifriction” alternatives; however, almost all of them require physical contact between surfaces. As a result, they are subject to energy losses. In Synchrony magnetic bearings, the rotor is completely suspended in the stator by electromagnets. This virtually eliminates the presence of any friction and prevents energy from being lost due to slippage between surfaces.


Even adequately lubricated bearings experience wear and tear over time. Because their failure can have such catastrophic effects on the operation of rotating machinery, they require diligent maintenance. This is especially true in applications where bearings are required to operate at very high speeds. Furthermore, because conventional bearings rely on a perfectly smooth contact surface to operate, very minor occurrences of corrosion, contamination and/or deformation can render them inoperable. Synchrony AMBs don’t require any pumps, sumps, gearboxes, or lubrication and because they are frictionless, they experience essentially no wear and tear. This reduces, and in some cases, completely eliminates, the need for many of the manpower-intensive activities typically associated with bearing maintenance, such as cleaning, lubricating, repairing, and replacing. This increases uptime and productivity.


The acquisition cost of active magnetic bearings is often less than the oil lubrication system that it eliminates. In addition to significantly reducing maintenance costs over the course of a machine’s useful life, processes that feature magnetic bearing technology typically experience less downtime. This can translate into a substantial amount of money saved considering the fact that in some applications (such as those in the oil and gas industry), the cost of having a machine down can be as high as $1 million per day.


Fluid film bearings require dedicated lube oil systems and extensive maintenance in order to sustain optimal performance. This includes changing and disposing of the lube oil and cleaning the oil system with other hazardous and corrosive chemicals. AMBs, on the other hand, do not require the use of any harmful chemicals. In addition to reducing a machine’s environmental footprint, this eliminates chemical disposal costs and increases safety by removing fire hazards caused by flammable substances. By eliminating contact, magnetic bearings also produce less noise and reduce vibration.

Related Links

Synchrony Capabilities Brochure
(649 KB PDF)
Synchrony Magnetic Bearings Flyer (299 KB PDF)
White Paper - Improving Rotating Machinery Performance with Dresser-Rand's Synchrony® Active Magnetic Bearings (387 KB PDF)

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