Linear-motion systems are essential in everything from manually operated industrial drawers and doors to advanced Cartesian robots. Mechanisms that include the former operate without power, using inertia or manual power to move loads. Components to complete the latter include ready-to-install drive and guidance designs in the form of self-contained motor-driven actuators or linear-motion machinery subsections. Some designs simply rely on the rotary-to-linear mechanism or actuator structure for total load support. However, most linear designs in industrial machinery (and elsewhere) have:
Pneumatics, linear motors, or motor-driven rotary-to-linear mechanisms to advance attached loads.
Linear bearings or rails that guide and support the loads on the axis.
In this Design Guide, the editors of Design World detail the special case of track-roller linear guides and how they compare to other linear rails, slides, and ways to facilitate single and multi-axis linear motion — and the disparate ways these linear components integrate into machinery for top performance.