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NSK Extended service life with NSK NH/NS linear guides

Editor: Steffen Donath

Maintenance requirements are reduced considerably when using NH/NS linear guides, as is the risk of expensive machine downtime due to premature failures.

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NH/NS series linear guides offer double the lifespan of conventional alternatives
NH/NS series linear guides offer double the lifespan of conventional alternatives
(Source: NSK)

The reason that NH/NS linear guides offer greater service life results from the inclusion of features like specially developed ball groove geometry. In addition, up to 30 % more dynamic load rating (over previous generation products) helps to deliver 100 % more fatigue life in a significantly more compact and lightweight format. Surface treatments that include Duralloy and Raydent can be offered to ensure even more durability, while stainless steel versions are also available for use in environments that are potentially corrosive.

Among a myriad of OEMs tapping into the benefits of NH series linear guides is a leading manufacturer of blow moulding machines. The company had received complaints about the poor service life (12 months) exhibited by its previous linear guides, which are used to move the mould platens. Thanks to the higher load capacity and long service life of NH series guides, the company witnessed a significant reduction in the wear susceptibility of its clamping units. In addition, the unique four-row groove design allowed the carriage to take shock loads, where other solutions could not. The entire range of blow moulding machines has since been equipped with NH linear guides.

Elsewhere, repeated failures of linear guides were being experienced by an established European manufacturer of high-speed SMT (surface mount technology) pick and place machines. Attributable to alignment issues, the problem was again resolved by adopting NH series linear guides, which are not only purpose-designed for high-speed applications but offer a high degree of self-alignment. Several thousand installations later, NH linear guides are proving to have a long lifespan with no issues reported.

And it is not just machine builders that can benefit. Retrofit projects at end users are proving equally popular. A case in point is a manufacturer of sheet metal assemblies that recently sought a solution to short lifespan issues with the drive and guide elements on its automated welding systems. Due to the presence of weld spatter and fumes, NSK recommended coated NH series linear guides in combination with protectors and K1 maintenance-free lubrication units. The weld systems have been in operation for over three years without any failures, which thus far equates to 10 times more service life than was being achieved previously.

Designed for any application where accurate, smooth, even linear motion is required, NH/NS series linear guides are also being used in medical imaging and healthcare equipment, measuring machines, laboratory equipment, packaging machinery, automation and robotics, materials handling equipment and automotive manufacturing systems, for example.

Service life in these applications is boosted further by the recently introduced NSK K1-L maintenance-free lubrication unit, which is attached to both ends of the linear guide slider. Effective lubrication is essential in maintaining guide performance over extended periods, and the K1-L has been designed to provide a continuous supply of fresh oil to the rail ball grooves. Compared with the previous-generation K1 unit, the K1-L offers 1.8 times more lubrication life, 20 % less dynamic friction of the slider, and a newly developed protective casing to help maintain structural integrity and further impede the entry/release of dust and other particle contaminants.

Aside from long service life, further benefits of NH/NS series guides include high productivity (traverse speeds of 150 to 300 m/min), low noise output (3dB less than previous generation) and standard accuracy that exceeds conventional alternatives.

Importantly, NSK can provide high levels of product service thanks to well-maintained stock levels. The company’s central warehouse holds the entire comprehensive range of standard-size NH/NS series linear guides, ensuring partners and customers benefit from rapid delivery. In addition, NSK can produce custom solutions to suit any special requirements, including specific lengths.

As a further option, NSK offers access to a handy online tool where machine builders can create bespoke linear guides in a fast and easy-to-use format. The NSK Click!Speedy linear guide design tool is capable of producing bespoke items based on specifications such as type, size, length, seals, lubricant and lubrication unit. In each case, the part number, data sheet, PDF drawing and CAD data of the customised linear guide are made available by download link or e-mail.

By providing application details, NSK can quickly calculate the required size of NH/NS series linear guide, along with its expected service life, price and delivery time.

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