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Synthetic Ruby

Here we feature Bird Precision Synthetic Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby and sapphire materials are next to diamond in hardness with five times the abrasion resistance of carbide and are essentially chemically inert. Ruby and sapphire do not outgas. This single crystal material is an economical manmade product especially in comparison to single crystal diamond. 

They are non-thrombogenic and used in a number of medical applications from flow restrictors valves to wire feed through insulators, endoscopic windows and miniature bearings. Bird Precision specializes in mounting sapphire and ruby products into a variety of metal inserts, connectors and fittings for ease of use, as well as filtration where needed. 


Typical Synthethic Sapphire usage.

Jeweled bearing (friction less, non magnetic)
Precision Orfice
Lamp Envelops
Solar Cell Coverplate
Light Pipes
High pressure and Vacuum Windows
Optical plate

Sizes: .010"dia.rod up 6.00" dia. Windows. Precision of 2 to 4 micro inches.
Thickness: Up to 3.00"
Polish: 80-20 per MIL-SPEC-0-13830 or 250 Angstrom per special request


(Bird Precision Brass Fitting)

Jewel Bearings:

Jeweled bearing exhibit a rare combination of design characteristics that make them the bearing of choice over competing alternatives. Jeweled bearings are unparalleled in achieving extremely low breakaway friction, long life, and the ability to withstand harsh environments. Sapphire and Glass Vee's are highly recommended in all low torque, low load, low speed or oscillating applications. 

Ring Jewels, Sapphire, End Bearings, Rollers and Balls all fill the need for higher loads and speed. Because Sapphire is next to diamond in hardness, wear is negligible in normal usage. It is not unusual to find a precision Jeweled time piece from the turn of the century still keeping perfect time.

Sapphire is unaffected by acid or alkaline environments even at elevated temperatures. It is therefore in high demand for applications in Petrochemical, Process Control and Medical Instrumentation.

With melting temperatures over 2,000 degrees C, Jeweled Bearings find their way into some very hot situations. In applications where lubrication cannot be tolerated, perhaps because dust or debris in the instrument could cause contaminate buildup, Jeweled Bearings are a safe alternative.

Repeatability of tolerance, high surface finishes and close concentricity are other favorable plus points.

Jeweled Bearings are fascinating alternative to conventional miniature bearings choices.

Partial List of Jewel Bearing Characteristics

  • Repeatability and control tolerances, concentricity down to .0002"
  • Miniaturized down to .006" shaft sizes range through .125" typical
  • Low coefficient friction .10/.15 (steel on sapphire)
  • Excellent for low torque requirements, extremely low breakaway friction
  • Performs best in low speed, oscillation applications
  • Extreme wear resistance, will not scratch, hardness next to diamond (1800 Knoop 9 Mohs)
  • Performs in hazardous environments, impervious to acid and alkaline
  • High temperature stability, fusion temperature 2050 C.
  • Can perform with or without lubricants
  • Volume production, variety of forms and types, holders
  • Cost typically 1/5 of conventional ball bearings, 10% cosst of Bendix Flexors
  • Can be shock mounted
  • Roundness down to .0002" typical
  • High compressive strength 300,000 PSI at 77 degrees F
  • Low elastic deformation



These quick connect fittings are offered in orifice sizes from .0004" and up, with flow rates from less than .5 ccm dry air. Typical tube sizes are 1/16", 1/8" and larger, as well as metric sizes. A variety of male threads and NPTs are offered. These quick connect fittings also can be supplied with either single or dual filtration from 5 microns and up.




Sapphire, Ruby, Ceramic and Glass Balls

Synthetic Sapphire and particularly Synthetic Ruby materials are quickly becoming the jewels of the industry.

For companies who are producing a specific product, these materials make an immediate statement about quality. For instance, watches often feature, on their face, that all movements are fully jeweled. Furthermore, many ball point pen companies exclusively use ruby ball tips, which offer a smoother and finer writing quality.

Not surprisingly, these synthetic sapphire and ruby balls deliver better quality because of their superior qualities. They bring extreme abrasive resistance (5 times that of carbide). Both exhibit the ability to add an extremely smooth finish. Due to their zero porosity and crystal structure, micro-finishes of 2 are easily attained. Extreme hardness, chemical inertness (even to hydrofloric, hf acid), a low friction coefficient, high thermal conductivity and remarkable wear resistance are some of the reasons these balls are on a roll in the industry.

Their numerous advantageous properties make them prime candidates for literally hundreds of applications.

Ruby balls are currently used in chemical pump check valves, wind indicators, probe and test measurement tips, medical check valves, ball point pens, master ball gauging sets, ball plug gauges, sapphire fiber optic lens systems, tracer tips, gyroscopic wear points and precision metering valve assemblies.
Sapphire balls can be drilled and used as precision jeweled bearing rollers for low friction and long wear applications. They can also be implemented in high heat applications; their melting point is 2,000 degrees centigrade yet oxidation of the material isn't a problem.

Sapphire also offers good temperature and optical qualities, as well as superior stability.

If you want more direct evidence of how they're being applied, just take a look.

Tracer Tips and Gauge Contact Points: Perfect here because of its hardness, wear resistance, dimensional stability and smooth surface texture. It is aesthetically attractive. It can also be machined to micron tolerance in roundness and diameter.
Chemical and Medical Valves: Ideal because of its extreme resistance to chemical corrosion. It's also inert to most acids, non-toxic, and offers zero porosity and resistance to thermal shock.
Ball Point Pens & Stylus Tips: Smooth surface and high abrasion resistance enable it to stand up to harsh surfaces, such as mylar.
Ball and Roller Bearings: Low coefficient of friction, long wear, low elastic deformation and heat and chemical resistance properties give it a longer life span.
Fiber Optic Lens Systems: Its scratch resistance, good refraction index (1.76 microns at 20 degrees C), 80% to 90% transmission in infrared wavelengths, strength and temperature stability make it perfect in meticulous applications.
Ball Gauge and Probe Tips: Delivers dimensional stability without wear since it's harder than most surfaces to be gauged. They're also attractive, readily available and can be machined down to micron tolerances..

Low Friction Bearings, Aluminum Impeller

Maximize Wind Speed Indicator

From sailors to scientists, kite flyers to foresters, and pilots to golfers, the Kestrel 1000 and 2000 anemometers are being appreciated for their convenience and accuracy. Nielsen-Kellerman Company, Chester, PA recently released both products to an eager marketplace, thanks to the design help of Bird Precision. Wind speed indicators have been around for many years, but a lightweight and highly accurate digital version had remained elusive to manufacturers until Nielsen-Kellerman went to the drawing board. Previous designs often have been cumbersome analog devices weighing more than one pound and providing only moderate accuracy.

Design details

Nielsen-Kellerman's goal was to create a highly accurate hand-held anemometer less than five inches long and weighing only 1.5 ounces. Other anemometers on the market did not allow the accuracy Nielsen-Kellerman sought, mainly due to their material make-up. Steel roller bearings often are used, and plastic often is used for the impeller's shaft. Plastic wears easily, and since most anemometers' impellers cannot be replaced, a worn shaft usually means a new unit is necessary.

Nielsen-Kellerman approached Bird Precision, Waltham, MA to help in the design of an ultra sensitive, low friction jewel bearing and alloy impeller shaft. Bird Precision accepted the challenge, delivering super polished sapphire conical vee bearings, chosen for their ultra low coefficient of friction of better than 0.15 against steel. Sapphire is next to diamond in wear resistance, and also was chosen for its long life. For the shaft, Bird Precision recommended their hardened proprietary alloy, which is known for its non-magnetic, non-corrosive and wear-resistant qualities. The sapphire vee bearings and shafts were critically matched for minimum friction and high performance. A precision-engineered anodized aluminum impeller with a large diameter-to-weight ratio concluded the improved design.

Bird's bearings allow the Kestrel's impeller to register almost imperceptible breezes (down to 0.7 MPH), yet also measure gale force winds (up to 89 MPH) with an accuracy of 3% or better. The 25mm patented impeller is protected from damage by a fiberglass housing, but if necessary, can be replaced simply and inexpensively without tools. This anemometer is currently the only one on the market with a user-replaceable impeller.

Many industries served

Unlike many others on the market, the digital display offers settings for knots, meters per second, kilometers per hour, miles per hour, feet per minute, and Beaufort. Thanks to all of these improvements, the Kestrel 1000 Pocket Wind Meter and the Kestrel 2000 Wind Speed/Temperature/Wind Chill indicator are being marketed to a variety of industries beyond the obvious general aviation pilots, balloonists, hang-gliders and other "flyers."

The Kestrel's biggest market is actually the marine industry. Sailors and even wind surfers can use the indicator both on land and water to test wind speed and direction, an improvement over common masthead indicators that are difficult to read and impossible to use on land. Another industry interested in the improved anemometer includes HVAC technicians, who can use the indicator to balance central heating and air systems. The maximum volume flow of a system is known at installation. By holding an anemometer in front of a heating or air duct, technicians can check the current volume flow, determine any leaks and then balance the system. In these situations, an anemometer with low start speed requirements is necessary. Many of the hand-held anemometers currently on the market create significant friction (due to roller bearings or plastic impellers) and require a considerable wind speed to start the blade moving. Because the Kestrel's jewel bearings are almost friction less, and the impeller is extremely lightweight, a very low start speed is required.

Similar to HVAC technicians, spray booth operators must constantly check the ventilation of their booths to ensure that the harmful chemicals being sprayed are properly removed from the circulating air. Because an operator's life could be on the line, the accuracy of the anemometer is extremely important. Fire fighters and forestry engineers use anemometers to track the direction and speed of the wind in case of fire. Controlling a blaze is often dependent upon knowing which direction and how fast it will move. Though many fire and forestry stations have large wind speed indicators posted on the station's roof, having a hand-held indicator allows fire fighters to make split-second decisions at the scene.

Along with fire prevention and containment, forestry engineers and environmental engineers use anemometers for erosion control. Recording average wind speeds over time at a given location provides these engineers with data to calculate the rate of erosion in that area. Again, lightweight and accurate anemometers are imperative for accurate calculations. The Kestrel gives not only an instantaneous reading of wind speed, but also can recall the maximum and average wind speed recorded since the unit was turned on. The new accuracy in hand-held anemometers has created interest among farmers as well as crews that apply lawn chemicals. Farmers check wind speed and direction when spraying crops. Lawn technicians do the same when spraying lawns, particularly to calculate the distance the spray will be carried on the wind to ensure the neighbor's lawn does not end up being sprayed instead. A little accuracy goes a long way in this marketplace.




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