Linear Guide Rails

When precise linear motion is required for an application – whether it’s retrofit into an existing system or designed into a new one – Thomson linear guide rails and carriage assemblies are an optimal choice.

What sets a Thomson linear guide rails apart?

The complete offering of Thomson profile rail linear guide rails and carriage assemblies includes a broad range of styles, sizes and unique features produced to industry standard dimensions.

The Thomson linear guide rail assortment consists of:

500 Series Roller Linear Guide Rails
Rigidity is achieved by using the equivalent of a back-to-back bearing arrangement, complemented by special rollers that are crowned to prevent roller edge loading when misalignment is present. This results in lower elastic deformation as the load increases compared to a ball carriage or face-to-face bearing arrangement. A ball provides a single point contact area, while a roller provides a much greater line contact area. This results in a substantially higher load carrying capacity and lower wear with minimum rolling friction.

500 Series Ball Linear Guide Rails
These guide rails are produced from high-quality bearing steel. Almost all carriages, rails and rolling elements are through hardened. The end cap is constructed of a high-strength, glass-filled nylon with nitrile rubber seal.

400 Series Profile Rail Linear Guides
These guide rails are an ideal solution for cost-sensitive applications and is designed as a drop-in replacement with industry standard envelope and hole patterns. Caged and non-caged carriages utilize the same rail design, enabling efficient use of inventory since only one rail type needs to be stocked for either carriage type.

MicroGuide® Linear Guides
This stainless steel miniature guidance system provides corrosion resistance in certain clean room and washdown applications. MicroGuide's two-track Gothic arch ball groove geometry enables single rail application. It is also ideal for small design envelope requirements in semiconductor processing equipment and medical diagnostic equipment.

T-Series Linear Guides
A lightweight, flexible and more compliant alternative to all-steel profile rail, this high-quality product is made from aircraft aluminum alloy with hardened-steel, load-bearing plates and ball paths, and is an ideal choice for applications requiring reduced weight inertia. This aluminum guidance system uses hardened steel inserts in carriages and rail to provide a low-weight solution for critical, high-performance applications.


Square vs. Round: Which Linear Guide Rails are Best for Your Application?

When specifying linear guides for your applications, there are two types of guide rails from which to choose: square (profile) and round (shafting). Your application will dictate which types of linear guide rails should be used.

Square guide rails are well suited to high-load applications that require good rigidity and high accuracy. These linear guide rails achieve their performance through the precise grinding of the ball tracks in the rail, which have close conformity to the balls. The classic application for profile rail bearings is in the machine tool industry, where load capacity, rigidity and accuracy are paramount. Round guide rails offers several advantages of its own, including the ability to run smoothly when mounted to less-than-perfect surfaces or used for vertical movements with heavy loads.

For a more detailed analysis of choosing square or round linear guide rails, click here.

Round Rail vs. Square Rail

Lubricating Linear Rail

Linear Guide Rail Training

Design and Theory

Square rail linear guides have been in use for decades.  They were initially designed for the machine tool industry, replacing integrated carriages and ways, and because of their streamlined (low profile) stature, they are often chosen when aesthetics are important.

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Product Details

The Thomson profile rail line consists of the following families:

  • 500 Series Roller
  • 500 Series Ball
  • 400 Series
  • AccuMini
  • MicroGuide®
  • T-Series

Click for more details on the unique features of each family.

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Installation Instructions

Profile rail bearings are generally mounted to structures that are inherently stiffer than the rail. For this reason, the bearings tend to assume the contour of the surfaces to which they are fastened through bearing deflection. When deflection is imposed upon a bearing, especially a preloaded one, resultant forces occur. These forces are transferred to the rolling elements and races, potentially resulting in an increase in system friction and a decrease in system resolution, precision and life.

NOTE : All mounting tolerances should be inclusive of the the rail base to the center of the carriage top (H), and from the rail reference edge to the the carriage reference edge (A) tolerances. Thus, a lower accuracy class bearing may require a more accurate installation. Rail base to the center of the carriage top (H) rail reference edge to the the carriage reference edge (A)

Rail base to the center of the carriage top (H)

reference edge to the the carriage reference edge (A)

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Profile rail require a small amount of grease or oil to operate properly. Suggested greases for various applications are as follows:

General applications

  • NLGI grade 2 lubricant

Higher loads

  • EP2 (extreme pressure NLGI grade 2) lubricant

High Speed

  • Oil

Food-Grade Applications

  • Thomson Linear Lube (Teflon-based synthetic grease)
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