Optical Thin Section Bearings

Optical Thin Section Bearings

Date Published: Mar 07, 2021

Silverthin precision thin section bearings from Carter offer design engineers proven precision solutions in a wide variety of optical applications. Their thin section saves both space and weight whilst providing super-smooth and extremely accurate, trouble-free rotation. To help assure repeatability and also provide enhanced stability (vital in almost every optical application) Silverthin thin section bearings can be supplied pre-loaded.


The Carter Precision Optical bearing team is located near Oxford, amid a high-technology cluster featuring motorsport, nuclear, medical, defence and aerospace industries centre around the Thames Valley. Carter’s expert staff are all highly trained engineers and provide customers with a unique blend of experience, ability and expertise in optical equipment bearing design and application. Critically, the experienced team also provides customers with unique access to Carter’s R&D Department. This offers customers what is believed to be the most advanced bearing simulation software in the UK to assist them in the selection and/or design of bearings for demanding optical applications.

Typical applications for Silverthin thin section optical industry bearings from Carter are those where absolute accuracy, super-smooth operation and unrivalled repeatability are vital and include:


  • The latest generation of camera lenses, as used in a number of recent all-star cinema blockbusters
  • Airborne, defense and seagoing optical tracking systems and target designators
  • Laser rangefinders and designators for a variety of military and civilian application


Silverthin thin-section bearings have their origins in defence applications. As equipment manufacturers sought more precise ways to rotate more sophisticated optical equipment with speed and accuracy, so the Silverthin product line of precision thin-section bearings was born. Silverthin thin-section bearings for optical applications are specifically designed for weight and space saving combined with the very high positional accuracy required for application in optical products. In almost every case, optical products must be designed as the smallest possible package, rendering Silverthin thin section bearings the preferred solution for many leading OEMs in the field, both civilian and defence. Silverthin thin section bearings provide great stiffness and excellent torque performance yet remain light in weight and have a thin cross-section which saves valuable space.


Silverthin thin section bearings feature special designs to cater for differing optical applications, from lightweight airborne versions to units for heavier-duty military platform installations, as well as others for use in the new generation of cameras that are making todays’ blockbuster movies. The bearings can be supplied pre-loaded by application to suit the widest variety of demanding precision optical platforms, especially those that need the smoothest of movements. Thin section bearings from Silverthin have a large bore with a small cross-section to offer many design advantages: for example, the use of a large diameter hollow shaft in place of a smaller diameter solid version can achieve significant weight savings, and also allow designers of optical equipment to route associated components such as electrical or fiberoptic control and sensor cables more effectively too. Using Silverthin thin section bearings means that everything can be packaged more tightly with a tidier design that is more cost efficient to produce and less vulnerable to damage in service.


  • Camera lenses
  • Gyro-stabilized gimbal platforms
  • Tripods
  • Camera robotics
  • Surveillance equipment
  • Orbital camera rigs
  • Microscopes
  • Turntables
  • Motion control rigs
  • Drone cinematography
  • Security cameras
  • Infrared vision systems
  • Electro-optical devices
  • IR imaging systems
  • Counter UAV systems
  • Thermal imaging cameras

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