On a linear slide, the linear guide rail is the rail that the bearing unit is fixed to. The length and position of this rail determines how far the linear slide will be able to move. In some applications, the linear guide rails will be very short, while in others they will need to be several feet long to allow for a wide range of motion. Linear guide rails are usually constructed using high strength stainless steel to provide a steady platform for the bearing that is also resistant to corrosion. The rail is manufactured using a metal machining process that cuts and molds the metal into the shape of the rail before it is fitted with a bearing.
Linear guide rails come in a variety of shape and sizes, but there are several types that are common in industrial settings. Profile rail guides are matched with a bearing based on the application, and they are designed to create smooth linear motion by having a rectangular shape that is thick enough for a linear bearing to be firmly fitted around three sides of it. Most of these come pre-lubricated from a factory and they are even available in miniature sizes for use in areas where space is very limited. Precision rail guides come in pairs and have an encased rolling mechanism installed in between them. The rails move out in opposite directions to create linear motion and use ball bearings, needle rollers or cross rollers on the inside to allow for smooth movement.
Another type of linear motion product is a linear table. A linear table is a compact solution which uses linear guide rails fitted with bearings to guide and drive components in a variety of applications. The table can be motorized or simply powered by hand, and it is attached to bearings that run along the length of a guide rail beneath it. This way objects can be placed on the table and moved to some other point on the rail. Heavy duty linear tables are particularly useful in industrial manufacturing assembly lines because they can be used to move heavy components along to the next stage of a production process.
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