Maintenance, installation guidelines for linear motion applications
Proper installation, operation, and maintenance of linear components are essential to maximize the service life of a linear motion system. The following are general guidelines for linear thrust and guidance mechanisms.
- Mount the components on a clean, level, and solid foundation. Mounting accuracy of linear systems usually will mimic that of the base or bed.
- Position the actuator or screw axis at center and parallel to the load as much as possible to prevent detrimental moments. Avoid side loading and cantilever mounting.
- Make sure the entire linear assembly is as rigidly mounted as practical.
- Using dial indicators, determine that all rails are level and parallel with each other.
- Ensure that the thrust mechanism will run back and forth freely during installation.
- Minimize spans between drive components. Short, straight connecting shafts are ideal for the system.
- Utilize additional bearing supports for drive shafts whenever possible.
- Use zero-backlash, flexible couplings and gearboxes.
- Incorporate limit switches and sensors into the system to control travel distances and positioning.
- When mounting profile rails, observe the datum line on the reference rail and place it against the datum plane.
- Avoid excessive compression loads (column loading) on thrust devices. Heavily loaded vertical applications and high-speed horizontal applications are prone to column loading.
- Do not exceed the limiting speeds of all linear components.
- Make sure brakes and anti-rotation devices are used to prevent unintentional back driving and effective stops.
- Use a torque-limiting device to prevent overloading the system and to protect the components.
- Lock out, tag out, and verify that the system is neutralized prior to any service work.
- Use protective bellows, boots, seals, and covers whenever possible to prevent foreign materials from interfering with movement and causing wear.
- Properly torque all fasteners to the specified amount.
- Lubricate all steel surfaces with light machine oil.
See a related article below about eight major factors to consider when implementing a linear motion system.