Automotion Components have a wide variety of linear rail systems within its range and we understand that having so many options can make it confusing as to which is the best choice for your unique application. We have produced this guide to help point you in the right direction but, as always, we have technical experts on hand to assist should you need help. Please call us on 0333 207 4498.
More details: below we will go into more depth on the three main classes of linear rail system we supply.
A linear guide, also known as a linear guideway, linear bearing or linear rail, is a system which assists the movement and supports the load of a piece of equipment in a linear fashion, usually either vertically or horizontally.
Of all the different types of linear rail systems these offer the highest load capacity and highest rigidity. Four rows of hardened ball bearings (or rollers in the case of the linear roller rails) are in direct contact with the raceways of the hardened rails, plus the length of rail is sitting directly onto the supporting structure, so there is no bend in the rails.
They are a highly accurate and repeatable system. As such, a pair of guides used together in parallel must be very accurately aligned for it to operate smoothly.
The hardened steel ball bearing rails also offer a unique ball cage in the carriages. A historical issue for this type of system was that the balls would accidentally be lost from the carriage if someone removed it from the rail - unfortunately rendering it useless and a new carriage required. With our ball cage versions this issue is eliminated, saving you money and time.
• Hardened steel ball bearing linear rail
• Miniature linear guideways in hardened stainless steel
• Anodised aluminium ball bearing linear rail
• Heavy duty needle roller rail guideways
• Black oxide hardened steel ball bearing linear rail
For more in-depth information on our linear guide rails, please visit the linear guideways technical page.
These rail systems are channel-type linear rails in which carriages with roller bearings run along the inside. As the carriages run inside the rails, rather than on top of the rails like the linear guide systems, it makes them very compact (hence the name!).
The compact rail is a precision machined rail with hardened raceways offering higher load capacities and accuracy than the X-rail. The X-rail system is a cold rolled rail system offering a economical solution to simple linear movement applications.
The compact rail system is a unique linear rail, or linear guide system that is very easy to install and allows for some misalignment of the structure in which It is being used. As the pre-load, or stiffness, of the system is user-adjustable during set-up, compact rails are very operator-friendly. Induction hardened raceways on all rails and a precision ‘master’ rail ensure that this is still a high precision system, but with minimal set-up time, thus offering time/cost savings during the installation process.
The X-rail works on exactly the same principles of allowing some misalignment and user-adjustable pre-load, but offers a lower cost solution due to their construction.
• Master, ‘T’, and slave, ‘U’, rails to allow for misalignment
• Compact rail available with different coating options such as nickel and alloy to suit the environment they are being used in
• Zinc-plated steel X-rail for low cost solution
• AISI 316 stainless steel X-rail for use in marine (or corrosive) environments
A linear shaft is a straight, precision machined bar on which linear bearings run to create a linear guide system to support or guide the movement of equipment in a linear fashion. A linear bearing, also known as a linear ball bush or bushing, is a bearing that runs on the hardened linear shaft.
With the aid of a support at each end, linear shafts and bearings are very quick and easy to set up. They don’t offer the high load capacities of a linear guide, and special consideration needs to be taken as to the size of shaft used so it doesn’t bend or deflect too much under the load placed upon it, but they are a compact, cost effective solution.
There are many styles of linear bushings to compliment the linear shafts, making it very easy to mount your moving piece of equipment to them. Finally, when being compared to linear guides, thanks to the recirculating balls inside the bushings, they offer a lower friction, more energy efficient solution than linear guides.
• Hardened steel linear shafts
• Hollow shafts for weight saving
• 303 stainless steel shafts and 316 stainless steel shafts
• Hardened stainless steel linear shafts
• Shaft support rails for additional support
• Steel and stainless steel linear bushings
• Flanged bushings and linear bushing carriages for ease of mounting
• Specialist aluminium shafts and ceramic linear bushings
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As specialists in linear motion systems we offer an array of linear rails to suit any application. So whether you need lightweight aluminium rails for use in aviation applications or stainless steel rails for when exposure to water or corrosive chemicals is a factor, our knowledgeable technical engineers are always on hand to provide assistance.
Delve into our Linear Motion Catalogue and explore the full range of products we can offer - available to download as a PDF or request a print copy for free.