Linear slides play a very important role in today’s industries, serving clean room operating systems, robotic assembly machinery, automatic packaging equipment and CNC machining equipment. Precision eyeglass assembly, instrumentation and specialized processes are also able to take advantage of this product. Linear slides are used to provide motion to machinery or other objects along a single axis. Some newer models are able to move along multiple axes, but the idea is the same, to move objects from one point to another more easily. The average linear slide is composed of a stationary base, a carriage or platform and a linear rail of bearings. The carriage is able to move back and forth, sliding along the bearings. The base provides the mechanism with a very strict range of motion to create a motion in a very distinct pattern or direction.
When choosing the linear slide for your application, the working environment is probably one of the most important factors. Cast iron, aluminum and stainless steel are popular material options due to their strength and durability. Stainless steel provides the added benefit of being corrosion resistant. Protective housing may also be added to the systems to prevent dust or debris from interfering with the process. Exposure to these items can increase the wear on both the ball bearings and the slides, making the machine run less efficiently.