Tech Tips - Selecting Pneumatic Linear Slides for Automation Projects

sponsored by: 7 has revolutionized modern industrial equipment. Equipment costs and lead times have been reduced. Small volume consumer products can now be automated. The ability to easily re-program gives manufacturers the flexibility to offer custom tailored products. Need something special? Not that many years ago, air powered linear slides were not available as a packaged component, as we are accustomed to today. Slides were individually designed and fabricated by the equipment builder, who used a combination of purchased components, such as air cylinder, coupler, bearings, and shafting, and custom machined blocks, plates, or weldments. This custom component was expensive, but performed exactly as the designer intended. Packaged linear slides became available to meet the demands of machine designers/builders who “didn’t want to re-invent the wheel” every time a linear motion was required. The advantages and cost savings were self evident, and a new category of pneumatic component emerged. But what about the times when an off-the-shelf slide product won’t quite fit your application? You may be in need of a “special” slide. A “special” might be something as simple as a custom sensor, or custom mounting holes and dowels. These are modifications that would be difficult to do after the slide is assembled, so it is best left to the slide’s manufacturer to add these features for you. A special part number will be assigned, making ordering and re-ordering very easy. A completely new custom slide may be in order. Who better to design, test and manufacture that slide than the experts who build thousands of them. A call to the Applications Department could save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. Center support adds load capacity Carriage loads applied to guide shaft style linear slides can cause the shafts to deflect, or bend, especially on longer strokes. Figures 4 A and B show optional center support members attached to guide shafts which dramatically increases load carrying capacity. By attaching the shaft support at the center, deflection can typically be reduced to less than .005”, even when very heavy loads are applied. Carriage Motion Load Center Support Carriage Motion Load Figure 4A Figure 4b Rather than sizing up to a slide model with very large diameter guide shafts, you may be able to use a smaller model with the addition of the optional center support. slide selection - continued When guide shafts and load plate are horizontal. When guide shafts are stacked vertical, the load is applied to one of the tool bars, the single beam and center support adds strength and stability by distributing the load to multiple points on the guide shafts. Also see figure 11.