Sliding Guides Pt. 1: Introduction to Various Sliding Guides

Linear motion components can be combined to create complex or simple mechanisms for your application or machine.  Combining linear motion components linear shafts and bearings/bushings create basic sliding guides.  Sliding guides constrict the motion trajectories and moving members.

Each guide requires the following characteristics:

1. Support the moving loads.
2. Small and stable moving force.
3. Provide assured long term stable accuracies under high speed/acceleration operations.

The items 1 and 2 above are static performances (not associated with motion), and 3 is a dynamic performance (associated with motion). Sliding guide selection and structural designing will require basic knowledge shown below.

graph

Here, representative linear sliding guides, rotary guides, and curve guides are explained.

(1) Linear Sliding Guides

Linear sliding guides are mechanisms allowing linear movements with accuracy and with little friction of linear motion units such as air cylinder driven units.  Below is a chart illustrating the various linear sliding guides with their benefits.

Linear Sliding Guide Types Characteristics Factory Automation Components
Linear Guides with Round Shafts ([Fig] a)

lg-with-round-shaft

Single shaft configuration if rotation regulation is not needed
Large DIA guides for load support
Friction reduction mechanism can be added
Linear Bushings
Oil-free Bushings
Jig Bushings
Miniature Ball Guide Sets
Linear Motion Guides ([Fig] b)

lf

Selectable performance criteria: Friction reduction, high rigidity, high accuracy
Linear Guides
Slide Way
Slide Tables
Gib’s Guides (Flat gibs, Triangle rails) ([Fig] c)

gib

Wide variety of performance levels such as low cost and ultra-high performance, achievable due to low parts counts.
Linear Guides
Guide Rails (Air bearings, etc.)

(2) Rotary Guides

Similar thoughts as above are also applicable to rotary shaft guides (ball bearings). Inertia applicable on linear motion does not apply to rotary motion, and advanced ball bearing technologies are used to obtain high speed guiding characteristics.  There are a variety of rotary ball bearings that guide rotary shafts their applicable parts.

(3) Curve Guides

For curve (circular-arc, etc.) guides, linear motion guides formed into curvature driven by motors and ultrasonic motors are used.  There are also circular linear guides, just like a linear guide but the rail is curved.  This is able to withstand forces in multiple directions.

Linear Arc Guide

Linear Arc Guide Image via DRE Engineeering

Sliding guides offer a variety of motion options.  From non-rotational to load support, linear motion components are versatile for your needs.   Up next, friction and wear in sliding mechanisms are examined.

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