On the Move

April 6, 2008
Mechanical Motion Components Make Machines Run Smoothly

Building a motion system that’s heavily reliant on mechanical components can be simple or complex. A few vendors that specialize in mechanical motion components explain what the future holds for these devices that are used everywhere from packaging and transportation to factory automation machines and systems.

Chris Blaszczyk, manager of product development at Misumi (, says: “Configurable mechanical motion systems now are a reality. Many suppliers are developing assembled systems from their existing stocked products. In addition, the configurable component allows the engineer to specify the critical dimensions of a component in millimeter increments or less. Together, the configurable component and configurable-system concepts are making the machine build and design a quicker, more cost-efficient process. A company can procure a large variety of machined components, such as shafts, linear guides and precision washers, which can be configured without creating a manufacturing drawing.”

Clint Hayes, product marketing manager, Bosch Rexroth Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies (, says: “As companies strive to increase levels of accuracy in manufacturing, they have begun to replace pneumatic cylinders with electromechanical cylinders, especially in assembly, metalworking, wood manufacturing, packaging and material handling.” In many cases, electromechanical cylinders can provide more control and higher thrust forces than pneumatics can, without the added cost of air handling.

“There is a continuing demand for speed in system-level machine design,” says James Marek, business unit manager, Thomson Systems, Danaher Motion ( “Combined with an economy that is driving lean business practices, the result is a demand on the supply chain to provide services that were once integral to the OEM. The critical initial phase of the design cycle includes component sizing and selection, engineering analysis, CAD model generation and material procurement. Companies that are leading their respective industries are both timely and cost-effective in developing prototype systems that wow their customers and win the contract. In the mechanical motion component industry, we should see more powerful software tools available to machine designers. These tools will provide services and collateral that will enable engineers to navigate these critical phases of the initial machine build.”

Linear StagesMP-Series integrated linear stages in both ballscrew and direct drive linear motor versions let machine designers choose a solution based on desired performance and not worry about internal technology. By using RSLogix programming software and Allen-Bradley motion analyzer servo system selection and software, OEMs specify load and motion profile parameters to select the appropriate linear stage, and then configure the motion control system to run the stage.Rockwell Automation800/223-5354, ext. 2033
Actuators/OptionsHPLA/HLE belt-driven linear actuators have an MPP motor option that allows users to create a complete system—from actuator to gearhead to motor. The configurable option includes mounting flanges and pinions for the MPP motors, which are field-mountable or factory-mounted.Parker Electromechanical Automation800/245-6903
Linear ConversionDNCE electromechanical screw-driven linear actuator with a non-rotating round piston rod is a drop-in replacement for conversions from pneumatic to electromechanical automation for the Festo DNC and other pneumatic cylinders based on ISO standard 6431. It can be a standalone mechanical axis mounted to a motor or as part of a complete solution with motor and controller. It is offered with a self-braking lead screw with +/- 0.07 mm repeatability or ball screw with +/- 0.02 mm repeatability.Festo631/435-8000
Magna ForceMagnaGear XTR heavy-duty, cast-iron reducer is available with parallel-shaft or right-angle configurations with torque capacities to 920,000 lb-in. for a variety of soft start mechanisms in a variety of conveying applications. It meets or exceeds AGMA and international standards, with carburized, hardened and precision-ground gearing. Tandem HBNR lip seals are standard for extra protection on all bearings Baldor-Reliance
Slip Sliding AwayMDrivePlus linear slides have speeds to more than 60 in./sec with standard linear slide leads of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0 in. travel per revolution. The slide has a precision aluminum guide and wear-compensating, anti-backlash driven carriage with precision rolled stainless steel lead screw. Slots accommodate sensor bracket mounting on the slide, with provisions for mounting a flag on the carriage. An optional sensor flag kit simplifies mounting a common optical sensor. Intelligent Motion Systems860/295-6102
Hit the BrakesSeries BFK458-L spring-applied brakes are released by applying DC voltage to an electromagnetic coil. Life is estimated at 10,000,000 cycles. There are four sizes with rated torques 4–46 Nm; shaft sizes 10–25 mm, and brake coils can be supplied for 24 V connection or rectified mains at 103, 180 and 250 V. Lenze AC Tech508/278-9100
Right-Angle Gear ReducerLPK right-angle gear reducer is available with acceleration torques to 250 Nm, torsional backlash less than 10 arc-min and a peak speed of 6,000 rpm. The gearhead comes with 10 reduction ratios from 3 to 10. LPK can be supplied with Alpha rack-and-pinion system and Alpha shaft couplings. Alpha Gear Drives630/540-5341
Large Gear UnitsX series large industrial gear units comprises 23 different sizes, each with a different torque rating, that meet the demand for the large drives required to transport packaged and bulk goods, as well as large processing machines. The gear units feature helical and helical-bevel technologies, which deliver torques to 4.1 million lb-in. with unit weights topping four tons.SEW-Eurodrive888/sew-3876
Next Day DeliveryThomson Super Ball Bushing bearings available in metric sizes 16, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50 mm have a coefficient of friction as low as 0.001 that allows users to employ smaller and less expensive motors, belts, gears and ball screws when replacing high friction, plain bearings. They can act as a drop-in replacement for existing applications.Danaher Motion866/993-2624
Cam Roller Runner BlockseLine cam roller runner blocks transport light loads at speeds to 12 m/s. Low friction levels minimize lubricant consumption, and these clean-room-compatible linear components generate no dust due to abrasion of plastic parts. The aluminum runner block body houses corrosion-resistant cam rollers with lubed-for-life bearings. Users can choose between runner blocks in standard length with four cam rollers or short runner blocks with two cam rollers.Bosch Rexroth800/322-6724
Block Style SlidesLinear slides in 12, 20 and 32-mm bores with strokes ½–10 in. and guide shafts 3/8–3/4-in.diameter have anodized aluminum body with built-in repairable air cylinder and a combination of mounting holes to facilitate rigid mounting in tight spaces. Toolbar has counter bored tapped through holes on top, front and bottom faces for quick tooling attachment. Front face has slip-fit dowel hole and slot for repeatable precision tool alignment.Fabco-Air352/373-3578
Caged TechnologyActuator Type GL-N uses two caged ball-type LM guides, offers accelerations over 5 g, has reduced noise levels and increased load capacities via four raceways. The unit is equipped with industry-standard motor mounts, and metric standard-inch mounting holes are available. The mounting hole pattern is ISO standard, standard lengths reach 3 m, and custom lengths are available on request. THK America847/310-1111
208 StylesSingle-axis actuators in 208 configured styles are compatible with most servo motors and designed to provide linear motion in a variety of general industrial assembly applications, as well as packaging and automotive applications.Misumi USA800/681-7475
Motion In A Small PackagedModular, pre-lubricated rotary actuators allow customization of designs and components tailored for an application. Either complex or simple actuator arrangements can be engineered and ready to mount for plug-in operation with AC or DC power. Optimized torque is up to 105 Nm and speeds are to 20 rpm.SKF USA800/541-3624
Anti-BacklashZBX Series anti-backlash linear actuator assembly for vertical applications requiring noise or vibration control has a self-lubricating, polyacetal nut that is radially preloaded on a 303 stainless steel screw. The assembly offers torque consistency and repeatability when traversing in either direction through its unique load transfer capability.Kerk Motion Products603/465-7227
Positioning StagesSingle-rail positioning stages have a small footprint, offer a speed of 6 m/sec, high acceleration to 12 g, zero cogging, resolution to 0.1 µm (0.000004 in.), repeatability to ±1 µm and load capacity to 25 Kg. The stages are designed for applications requiring high acceleration, high accuracy and repeatability, such as high precision printing, Y-axis for pick-and-place equipment and robotics, vision inspection and parts transfer.H2W Technologies888/702-0540
Linear Slides and Table AssembliesSelf-lubricating linear slides and table assemblies integrate into new and existing applications requiring smooth motion, low noise and washdown capabilities. Slide rails and carriages are available in 0.5625, 0.75, and 0.875-in. heights and 7, 13, 19, 25 and 31-in. lengths. The Teflon composite bearing material withstands loads to 1,000 psi and has a maximum velocity of 80 in./sec. Load bearing surfaces are at 45º angles to the mounting surface and force of the load. LM76413/525-4166

Dedicated Automation
Hydraulic and pneumatic linear actuators catalog includes individual pneumatic robotic modules and sections for jigs, fixtures, general-purpose tooling and other applications.
Mack Corp.

Fast Positioning26DAM Series digital linear actuators provide linear force up to 120 oz (33 N), linear step resolution of 0.001 in., 0.002 in. and 0.004 in., and 3.4 W of power for fast response times. The actuators are available in captive and non-captive versions. Portescap610/235-5499

Quiet as a Mouse
MagShift solenoids have no impact among their moving parts. In power-on mode, noise will measure below 40 dBA, including end-of-travel stop. When the unit reaches end-of-travel position, there is no impact force, which eliminates vibration and minimizes noise. Their construction eliminates residual magnetism that can impede performance and allows the same assembly to be configured as a push or pull solenoid for system flexibility.

Drive AssembliesRolling-ring traverse winding drives for designers of winding and spooling equipment now have a mechanical pitch adjustment lever that enables a 10:1 pitch turndown to spool materials of varying diameters/widths using a single traverse winder. Pitch is adjusted without changing gears or adjusting other controls. Users move the pitch selector lever, which follows along the notched scale. Each notch on the scale is a discrete pitch setting. From notch to notch, pitch changes by a factor of 0.01 or 0.02, depending on the model.Amacoil610/485-8300
Prevent Roller Drive WearThe most prevalent cause of roller drive failure is rotation and movement within a conveyor frame. An anti-spin bracket provides a method for securing RollerDrives in conveyor frames. The anti-spin bracket prevents the RollerDrive from spinning in the frame and damaging the cable. The bracket also provides added security when used on both ends of the RollerDrive for its use in belted applications.Interroll RollerDrives910/202-2304
Air Cylinder ActuatorKG Series air cylinder/valve actuator includes aluminum tubes on the 1-1/2 in. to 8 in. bore cylinders (except the 7 in. bore size) to produce a dense surface for wear and corrosion resistance and low coefficient of friction. Composite tube is standard on the 7 in. and 10 in. to 24 in. bore cylinders and weighs less than traditional metallic materials. Composite tubing is also an option on 1-1/2 in. to 6 in. and 8 in. bores. KG Series is available in 17 bore sizes ranging from 1-1/2 in. to 24 in. Piston rod diameters range from 5/8 in. to 3-1/2 in.Numatics615/771-1200

Sponsored Recommendations

Engineer's Guide to Advanced Motion and Mechatronics

This guide will examine the remaining differences between stepper and servo motors, new perspectives on motion control, the importance of both gentleness and accuracy with linear...

eBook: Efficient Operations: Propelling the Food Automation Market

For industrialized food production sectors, the megatrends of sustainable practices, digitalization and demand for skilled employees are underpinned by rising adaptability of ...

2024 State of Technology: Report: Sensors, Vision & Machine Safety

Manufacturing rarely takes place in a vacuum. Workers must be protected from equipment. And equipment must be protected. Sensing technology, vision systems and safety components...

Enclosure Cooling Primer

Learn more about enclosure cooling in this helpful primer.