There are two types of guide rails: the square (profile) guide rail and round guide rail. Round guide rails originated first but do not provide the precision offered by square guide rail components. However, the round guide rail is the preferred guide rail for vertical movements with heavy loads. The application will dictate which type of linear guide rails should be used.
While square linear guide rails once cost many times more than round technology due to the extensive grinding requirements inherent in the design, new manufacturing techniques and economies of scale have encouraged engineers to entertain the use of square guide rails in a broader application space. Profile linear guide rails can now be found in many of the same applications that were once only supported by round guide rail.
Square (profile) guide rails can outperform round guide rails in specific circumstances that demand higher rigidity and more compactness in terms of load capacity relative to size. In general, profile rail guide rails offer higher load capacity, accuracy and stiffness, and a longer life expectancy.
The Thomson Profile Rail linear guide rail assortment consists of the Next Generation Profile Rail “500 Series” Ball and Roller Linear Guides, compact miniature MicroGuide®, lightweight T-Series, and AccuMini. It is a complete offering of guide rails and carriages in a broad range of styles, sizes and unique features produced to industry standard dimensions for easy retrofitting into existing applications or designing into new applications.
The 500 Series Roller 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.
The 500 Series Ball Linear Guides 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. Stringent quality controls are in place to ensure consistency of materials from the source, allowing us to ensure that we delivery the highest quality product.
The 400 Series Profile Rail Linear Guide is a cost effective, transport grade Profile Rail 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.
Thomson's MicroGuide Linear Guide is a miniature guidance system that provides corrosion resistance in certain clean room and wash down applications. MicroGuide's two track Gothic arch ball groove geometry enables single rail application. This stainless steel miniature guidance system is also ideal for small design envelope requirements in semiconductor processing equipment and medical diagnostic equipment.
Thomson's AccuMini Linear Guides offer a superior, patented ball control design for smooth, quiet, low friction linear motion even at high speeds. AccuMini's Gothic arch ball groove geometry provides high roll moment capacity - a requirement for stand-alone applications.
Thomson's T-Series is a lightweight, flexible and forgiving alternative to all-steel profile rails. 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 rails to provide a low-weight solution for critical, high performance applications.