Choosing a reliable, efficient and cost effective lifting system for heavy duty fabrications and automation projects can become a mine field. With so many different solutions available often the time invested in finding the most suitable solution for an application is devoted to the type of screw jack and motor used. However, if you start to look at some of the ‘lesser’ components then the cost of the entire application can be reduced, whilst maintaining a trustworthy and economical system.
Matt Jones, Sales Manager at Drive Lines, explains the advantages of combined bearings and linear slides.
Combined bearings provide a cost-effective guide solution to lifting systems, platforms and cantilever loads. The system combines a radial bearing to take out high moment loads and a smaller axial roller to eliminate side movement. They are often used to guide screw jack lifting and sliding systems by isolating the screw jack drive from all side forces and moments, allowing for smaller and more cost-effective sizing of the screw jacks; especially under compressive buckling situations.
These combination bearings are often welded to a mounting flange plate for ease of fitment and replacement on the application. The flange plates offer a standard size with tapped and thru holes but square plates and special plates are available for ease of mounting. The flange plates are offered in standard rectangular sizes with tapped and thru holes but square plates and special plates are available for ease of mounting to customer fabrications.
The sealed and greased bearings offer robust guidance for fabrication mounting and with no external grease or oil required they are ideal for clean industrial environments. The bearings are designed to run in a hot rolled steel section in U and I configurations. These soft steel profiles are easy to machine, weld and integrate into fabrications and are sometimes used as structural members also due to the high rigidity of the sections.
For more precise applications or guidance, a complete precision rail and bearing combination is available. This is achieved by machining the inner radial bearing faces and back of the rail together with a larger diameter main radial bearing. The running tolerances are reduced which adds precision to the guidance. These sections are fine straightened and de-twisted before machining with counter bored, tapped, doweled or just clearance holes that can be precision machined along the rail lengths for mounting with fixings. Drive Lines has completed a number of high profile projects which utilised precision machine rails. These rails were machined to the clients drawing to provide a complete bespoke solution.
Drive Lines is also able to produce bespoke rail section extrusions and materials for special applications where a unique profile or a different material such as stainless steel is required. The company can also offer bespoke short run extrusions for minimum quantities, offering the exact rail you need to suit your application with steel traceability, ultrasonic testing and other requirements available on request.
In difficult or corrosive applications Drive Lines can provide Armoloy® thin dense chromium (TDC) coating for the bearings external parts or a full set of outer and inner needle roller components. Customers can hot dip galvanise or paint the rails, creating cost effective corrosion resistance.
In summary, combined bearings are a very versatile linear guide system for heavy duty fabrications and automation projects where robust, high load and sometimes bespoke solutions are required.