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Grouping work stations closely together has great merit in minimising material movement and conserving valuable floor space. But it means production flow needs to follow increasingly complex circular and oval paths, not a format that is easily handled by most commercially available linear guide and actuator systems. It is however a great strength of HepcoMotion®. Its vee-bearing based PRT2 precision ring and track system provides a solution that is superior in both its performance and application flexibility.

Central to PRT2 are concentric and eccentric vee groove bearings and vee edge slides. These have complementary vee profile running surfaces which allow the vee-bearing equipped carriages to run smoothly along the vee guides, resisting lateral or rotation movement, even under high applied loads.

In rotary motion it is possible for the vee bearings to be statically mounted and the ring slides rotated relative to them. HepcoMotion® circular and track systems can also be converted for actuation with the addition of components such as carriage linkages, drive elements and motors.

Carriages can follow either, straight or circular paths through the use of straight and ring slide segments. A wide choice of profile sizes, load capacities, slide lengths, curvature radii and angular spans allow the optimum system to be created for the task. Complex bi-directional paths are easily achievable using bogie carriages.

Flexibility is extended with options such as ring disks and slides with integrated racks for actuation by pinion gears. And of course an important benefit of any HepcoMotion® system is that stainless steel is a standard choice. So a ring or track system can be specified with the best combination of corrosion proof elements for food and pharmaceutical production.

Vee bearings usually contain enough lubrication to last their expected running lives and can be specified with Nitrile seals to minimise lubrication loss and ingress of debris. Clean component design ensures debris doesn’t get trapped.

Traditional ways of accommodating multi-curve linear guide and actuator designs often include conveyor systems but, by contrast, a vee-bearing based ring and track system can offer better positioning accuracy and precision. This benefit is particularly important when the payload is fragile or must be held rigidly and accurately positioned on the process line.

This is where the vee-bearing HepcoMotion® ring and track systems really come into their own, as they are designed to be firmly pre-loaded against the slide, ensuring the carriage’s stability along its path of travel. This superior performance isn’t easily achieved on a roller conveyor system that is un-powered or whose payload is moved by gravity or manually.

The HepcoMotion® ring and track system also requires less space, support structure and maintenance. This is because the payload size can greatly exceed the width of its carriages with appropriate mounting fixtures.

The HepcoMotion® vee-based system offers advantages of slewing rings too which are often specified with machined gear racks into their races for direct driving. Slewing rings do offer good accuracy and smoothness and can have payload mounted to them but they are generally not pre-loaded, a factor that considerably enhances rigidity and smooth movement.

Also such systems are generally supplied fully assembled and their components cannot be exchanged. If a component fails, the entire ring often has to be replaced making them difficult to service in the field. However, thanks to their common fit design, individual components can be easily exchanged on a HepcoMotion® ring and track system.

Vee bearings can have a significant size advantage over slewing rings in applications requiring less than 360° of travel. A slewing ring has to provide a complete circuit of travel regardless of the application’s needs whereas in a HepcoMotion® system the ring slide segment arc length only needs to be long enough to support all the vee bearings. This can be as few as three throughout the full arc of travel.

In conclusion HepcoMotion® ring and track systems can greatly improve payload transportation, simplify handling and boost efficiency. They offer design flexibility, are easily adapted and upgraded and, for almost all applications, they outperform other types of non-linear guides and actuators.

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