Linear Guides

A wide range of Linear Guides

Reliable and versatile, HepcoMotion offers a wide range of linear motion systems and automation components to meet practically any requirement, including linear bearings, linear guides and rails, ball screw assemblies, and drawer slides. Available in a range of sizes and materials, including stainless steel, HepcoMotion has an experienced technical team to specify the right product for each application.

Linear Guide FAQs

What are linear guides used for?

Linear guides are used in systems to move or position a component in a linear direction, either vertically or horizontally. Linear guides are used in a wide range of applications across various industries where precise and controlled linear motion is required. Some common uses include manufacturing, machine tools, robotics, automotive, packaging, scientific, aerospace and many more. Read more

Linear guides play a crucial role in various automation applications, including packaging machines and assembly lines, where they ensure the smooth and accurate movement of components. In an automated production cell, linear guides are the mechanism that guides and transfers components within the system, enabling precise interactions with integrated robotic or actuator systems. Linear guides ensure that products are precisely positioned, sorted, and packaged, reducing errors, and improving efficiency.

Other common uses include in packaging machinery where they facilitate operations such as filling, sealing, labelling and capping bottles, containers, and packages. Linear guides are used in automotive manufacturing processes for tasks such as welding, painting, and handling heavy components on assembly lines. In 3D printing, linear guides are employed to guide the print head or build platform along precise paths as it deposits material layer by layer, resulting in accurate and detailed prints. Linear guides are also used in medical applications for tasks like sample handling, liquid dispensing, and precise positioning of analytical instruments.

The versatility of linear guides extends beyond the mentioned industries, finding applications in various other sectors where precise and controlled linear motion is required for the functionality and efficiency of machinery and systems.

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How do I choose a linear guide?

Choosing the right linear guide for your specific application involves considering several key factors to ensure it meets your performance and functional requirements. Factors such as drive type, speed, payload, and environmental conditions play a key part in the decision for or against a certain design of linear guide. Read more

Consideration needs to be given as to whether a ready-to-drive unit is required or individual components only. For some, a ready-to-fit unit, incorporating the facility to drive the carriages around the track system, is favoured; while for others, individual components that can be integrated into existing systems are preferred. The choice of drive type influences the selection of a linear guide, as different drive mechanisms have varying speed, precision, and force characteristics that must align with the linear guide’s compatibility and application requirements. here are many drive types including screw, rack & pinion, belt drives and linear motors. Each of these types of drive has its pros and cons, giving them strengths in different areas of use.

The required speed will need to be considered. Higher speeds may require linear guides with specific design features as the combination of high speeds and short travel distances can be challenging for some linear guides. Not for Hepco’s V guide systems.  The ball pathway of a V guide bearing is completely circular, providing uniform acceleration and therefore consistent radial force, allowing for far greater speeds (up to 10m/s) when compared against the irregular ball path of recirculating bearing systems.

Payload directly impacts the performance, accuracy, reliability, and longevity of the guide, and is therefore a key factor to consider. The guide’s load capacity must match or exceed the weight of the components it needs to support. High payload linear guides are subjected to significant wear and stress due to the heavy loads they handle and must therefore have a high level of durability.

The environmental conditions will also influence which linear guide is suitable. In settings rife with dust, debris, and contaminants, the resilience of the linear guide becomes paramount. Traditional recirculating ball bearings, for instance, are likely to falter as dirt can infiltrate their mechanisms, leading to wear and potential failure. This is not the case for Hepco’s V guide systems. The design of the V bearings is such that the internal structure of the bearing is shielded from dirt and dust particles. The V guide system has a unique wiping action that expels debris at the interface between bearing and slide. In this way, the slide system is unaffected by ambient conditions and life is not limited. Most of Hepco’s guide systems are based on this V guide technology and are ideally suited to use in harsh environments with high levels of dirt and debris.

In corrosive environments, where exposure to chemicals, moisture, or other corrosive agents is a concern, it is essential to choose a linear guide that can withstand these conditions. The ideal linear guide for such environments is typically made of corrosion-resistant materials; stainless steel components are commonly used. Similarly, food applications often demand stainless steel components where exposure to moisture, cleaning agents and food products is common.

For further insight, our product experts have created a video discussing what you should consider when choosing a linear guide – please click here.

If you are still not sure which linear guide is for you, check out Hepco’s Product Selector tool which will help you to select the products matching your needs. No need to log-in; just a simple, straightforward way to choose the right products and accessories.

HepcoMotion - GV3 – Linear Guide System

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What is a linear guide?

A linear guide is the mechanical component used in various applications to facilitate smooth and precise movement within a system in a linear direction, either vertically or horizontally. Comprising of a carriage plate and guide rail, the carriage plate supports the load as it is driven along the guide rail. Read more

Different drive mechanisms are available, such as screws, rack & pinion, belt drives and linear motors.  Each type of drive has its pros and cons, giving them strengths in different applications and uses.

There are many different types of linear guides including V guides, ball rails, ball bushings, telescopic slides, and plain bushings. The choice of a linear guide depends on factors such as the application’s requirements, load capacity, precision, speed, and environmental conditions.

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What is preload in linear guides?

Preload is the level of contact pressure which is pre-applied between the bearing element and the guide. A high preload increases stiffness providing higher accuracy and rigidity, reducing the potential for deflection. Increasing the preload will also increase the friction or force required to move the parts. A low preload has the opposite effect, resulting in less friction and accuracy, but offers increased compliance, smoother running and lower levels of wear. Read more

High preload is typically required in applications such as semi-conductor manufacturing, medical devices and CNC machining where precision, accuracy, stiffness, and minimal backlash are critical.  Low preload is used in applications where reduced friction, compliance over less accurate mounting surfaces, smoother motion and minimal wear are more critical than absolute precision and stiffness.

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What is the best lubrication for linear guides?

The choice of lubrication for a linear guide depends on several factors, including the specific linear guide design and the application's operating conditions. In food and pharmaceutical applications for example, it is essential to use food-grade lubricants that are safe for contact with consumable products. Read more

Why Choose Hepco?

Our V based technology reduces downtime, increases system life and reduces total cost of ownership.

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Devon, EX16 6TG

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