Most bearings need to be lubricated, and lubricants can contaminate clean environments or catch dust, dirt, and debris that interfere with motion or score equipment. A new series of small, self-lubricating linear guides called Mini-Rail Plain Rails from Pacific Bearing Co. reportedly eliminates such problems.
The monorails, fabricated of a Teflon-based bearing material (Frelon) molecularly bonded to aluminum, can move smoothly at temperatures ranging from -500 to 400F.
A "precision grade" version, designed for extremely harsh operating environments, uses FrelonGold bearing material, runs on an RC70 ceramic-coated aluminum rail, and has an average running clearance of 0.001-inch. "One of our customers uses these mini-rails to test semiconductors," says Ray Stojonic, VP of technology for Pacific Bearing. "They use the rails mounted vertically to test parts at temperatures ranging from -60F to 360F."
The "commercial grade" version uses clear anodized aluminum with FrelonJ bearing material for the rail and carriage. This version, designed for general, dusty, and wash-down applications, has an average running clearance of 0.0025 inch.
Donnelly Corp. (Holland, MI) makes hardware for automotive windows, such as hinges, latches, and rings. "Before attaching the hardware, we need to apply primer to the glass," says engineer Willy Johnson, who recently received a patent for a new robotic primer system. The device, which he likens to "a magic marker used by a robot arm," paints primer or other fluid directly on glass. "It's very important for the primer to go up and down smoothly, and the Mini-Rail plain system gives us a nice bearing surface that lets the application move freely, with nothing to bind it."
"This system has far less to go wrong with it than traditional bearings. We needed a light-weight, good bearing surface, and this works very well," says Johnson.
For more information about Pacific Bearings' Mini-Rail: Enter 535