Linear systems are an important of production machinery and plant automation. An operation can easily be compromised when a linear guide stops working. As such, linear systems should be well-maintained and maintain an adequately low amount of friction movement. Otherwise, they may put strain on motors and drive systems, increasing bearing loads and reducing component life. Guidance systems can also be coated with anti-corrosion and anti-wear protection materials, as well as with lubricants. These can enable a system to operate even in high temperatures or with unusual load conditions. These maintenance measures are important as any production and loading downtime is costly for an operation.
Linear guidance systems and loaders like container roller systems allow for the efficient and automatic transfer and loading of heavy containers that weigh up to 20,000 kilograms. These processes reduce the need for manual labour and can enhance production lines while speeding up the overall logistics process.
Types of Guidance Systems
Linear guidance systems rely on rolling elements like balls, rollers, and roller tracks. They allow objects to move through a linear track while following a particular direction of motion. Translation only occurs when there is low friction between the moveable sub-assemblies within the system.
This system is comprised of carriages, composite guideways, and roller tracks. It is designed to be lightweight, versatile, and cost-effective. They can be constructed for high speeds and long travel distances. They are normally used for automated, multi-axis handling systems, automatic doors, and machine guards. The accuracy they provide depends on the mounting surface itself, and how accurate, rigid, and straight it is.
Roller tracks are also used as a way to ease the movement of airfreight containers and products into trucks and trailers. They can contain a specific feature so loads are live for loading and unloading processes, but dead or stopped for transportation. These systems allow for the efficient movement of loads into a transport vehicle.
Shaft guidance systems contain simple mechanisms and can only provide low-to-moderate accuracy. They are based on rolling features. The system consists of a ground shaft and a few low friction linear ball bearings. The shaft has the ability to support high radial loads. They are typically applied in the design of power tools and exercise equipment.
Monorail and Profile Rail
This type of guidance system involves a profiled guideway and one or more carriages running through it. There is a rolling element recirculation system consisting of either balls or rollers. They have a high load carrying capacity, accuracy, and rigidity. They are normally used for medical and measuring equipment, machine tool axes, and paper processing machinery.
A flat cage guidance system is meant for applications involving oscillating motion. It has a restricted stroke length. However, like monorail guidance systems, it has a high load carrying capacity, accuracy, and rigidity. Typical applications include gauging equipment and motion systems requiring low section heights.
Innovation continues to improve the efficiency of loading and unloading systems. Transportation and movement of containers are relying less and less on manual processes and labor, and more on mechanical and automated processes.