Hard-bearing vs. soft-bearing
There are two main types of balancing machines, hard-bearing and soft-bearing. The difference between them, however, is in the suspension and not the bearings.
In a hard-bearing machine, balancing is done at a frequency lower than the resonance frequency of the suspension. In a soft-bearing machine, balancing is done at a frequency higher than the resonance frequency of the suspension. Both types of machines have various advantages and disadvantages. A hard-bearing machine is generally more versatile and can handle pieces with greatly varying weights, because hard-bearing machines are measuring centrifugal effects and require only a one-time calibration. Only five geometric dimensions need to be fed into the measuring unit and the machine is ready for use. Therefore, it works very well for low- and middle-size volume production and in repair workshops.
A soft-bearing machine is not so versatile with respect to amount of rotor weight to be balanced. The preparation of a soft-bearing machine for individual rotor types is more time consuming, because it needs to be calibrated for different part types. It is very suitable for high-production volume and high-precision balancing tasks.
Hard- and soft-bearing machines can be automated to remove weight automatically, such as by drilling or milling, but hard-bearing machines are more robust and reliable. Both machine principles can be integrated into a production line and loaded by a robot arm or gantry, requiring very little human control.