AST Bearings was tasked to provide a bearing solution for a leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of premiere automated lighting systems providing equipment and services to the entertainment industry.
The customer was developing a next generation system, but was struggling with the high cost of certain components. The company serves demanding and high profile markets such as: concert touring, theatre, television, film, cruise lines, houses-of-worship and corporate events. Their systems are computer controlled with lamps that allow for color mixing and contain zooming optics and lens systems. They feature precision pan and tilt motion that demand smooth, precise rotational movements through the use of ball bearings. AST’s application engineers were asked to consider these requirements and deliver a cutting-edge solution.
The project’s main focus was on creating the ideal solution for the application’s tilt axis bearings. Faced with both space and weight constraints, AST selected bearings with a narrow profile and combined them with specially designed stamped housings. Compared to traditional mounted bearings, this approach offered significant reductions in weight, space, and cost.
Keeping in line with their right part for the right application, approach, AST’s engineers also designed the housing to accommodate a second size bearing so the bearing and housing assembly could be utilized in another lighting system. This allowed for the standardization of other components and further reduced costs.
These two bearing assemblies are still used today and are major contributors to the outstanding performance of the pan and tilt mechanism. This innovative solution was made possible by the use of AST’s Value Beyond the Part™ initiative, which allows their customers to enjoy a lower total cost of ownership for these products due to lower direct material costs and re-direction of labor to other value added activities in production. To date, AST has manufactured more than 200,000 of these assemblies.