Roller slides are a type of linear slide system used to provide ease of movement for equipment or machinery, and are typically characterized by aiding in smooth, low-noise motion with minimal slippage and a long lifespan. Roller slide bearings, or roller tables, are used in applications requiring high precision and repeatable movements such as photonics, medical and telecommunications, as well as applications such as food processing and vehicular processes.
Similar to ball bearing slides in that they work by rotation, instead of spherical components, roller slides use cylindrical bearings within the roller base to provide the movement. These rollers tend to be more durable than ball bearings and are able to withstand a greater load capacity and typically last longer than ball bearing slides. As the rollers offer line contact rather than the point contact of ball bearings, there is increased surface contact allowing the system to effectively carry more weight with less direct pressure on the rollers. Roller slides are designed to be low maintenance and are often used in applications which may have low levels of dust and debris. However, they may need to be disassembled and cleaned periodically to ensure optimum rolling movement, but this is a fairly straightforward procedure.
The basic structure of the roller slide is the same as other linear slides - a set of linear rails containing the rollers, a moving component used for transportation and a mounting bracket. In order to determine the best component selection, the intended speed and load as well as the desired angle of the roller need to be considered. Materials used for the fabrication of a roller linear slide system should be carefully considered. They are typically made from aluminum or cast iron, which tend to be durable metals which can withstand heavy loads and wear. For high-temperature applications, stainless steel linear components may be used and for sustained high-speed applications, brass or plastic is a common choice. The location of the slide and the products it will be used with will help determine material choice. Also to be considered is the distancing between the rails, the width affects the carrying capacity of the system and therefore for heavier applications, the number of roller rails may have to be increased. As the motion produced is by rolling, not sliding, there should be no additional lubricant required by the mechanism to ensure ease of movement, rather the process of roller sliding should be able to work satisfactorily on its own.
Image Provided by Del-Tron Precision, Inc.