Roller tables, or positioning stages, are motorized linear slides used to provide low-friction precision movement to heavy or cumbersome loads.
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Applications of Roller Tables
Roller tables are high precision pieces of equipment often moved by driving mechanisms, mechanical or electrical, allowing for even massive loads to be moved fairly easily. Industrial automation equipment, fiber optic systems, semiconductor, and material handling industries all use roller tables to some degree in their applications.
Roller Table Design and Customization
Roller tables are manufactured to be highly accurate and withstand a heavy load capacity while pushing, pulling, or positioning. Common types include low profile, heavy duty, and crossed linear rails tables. Using roller slides, roller tables are able to have a single or multiple axis with shafts and tables to maximize direction and control. A roller table is composed of a linear base and an attached moving carriage. The carriage houses the roller bearings or cylindrical bearings that allow for the low friction motion between the linear rails and the platform, or table. Cylindrical bearings result in the least amount of mechanical noise, so they are the most commonly used bearing in roller tables.
Aluminum is a material commonly used for the fabrication of roller table components, as it is able to withstand the force from heavy loads and maintain its structure. Stainless steel is also commonly used, especially in applications where corrosion resistance is an important element of operations. Tables can be custom designed in terms of size, load capacity, freedom of movement, and material based on the application the table is intended to be used for. Crossed roller linear rails provide greater control and precision, and, in roller table applications, the rails may be crossed at a 45° angle between the base and the carriage. Roller cages can be added to a table to help balance loads and prevent slipping during movement. For some applications, covers or other shields can be attached to the linear slides to prevent debris or dust getting inside the sliding mechanism and obstructing motion. However, the slides will likely need to be disassembled and cleaned from time to time to ensure optimum performance of the roller table.
Benefits of Using Roller Tables
Roller tables are a cost-efficient method of moving equipment and improving the efficiency within an operation. The design can be simple to manufacture and operate, and the driving mechanism for roller tables can move a heavy load with a relatively small power output, making it further cost-efficient to use roller tables.