Hydrostatic linear guides dampen loads in high speed machining applications

Written by: Schaeffler (UK) Ltd | Published:

A new range of hydrostatic linear guides is now available that combines excellent damping characteristics with the compact dimensions of a profiled rail linear guide.

Following extensive R&D and customer trials, a new range of hydrostatic linear guides is now available.

Schaeffler's new HLE range of hydrostatic linear guides is ideal for linear motion applications in which high damping characteristics are required and where the damping itself must take place at the point where the load is applied, for example, in high speed machining and high precision grinding applications.

With a demand for increased dynamics and power densities in the machine tool industry, linear guidance systems are now required that offer both high dynamic rigidity and reduced vibration. If machine vibration can be dampened, machine efficiencies can be improved, resulting in higher cutting capacities, higher speeds, improved surface quality and improved machining accuracy.

Unlike conventional ball linear guides or roller linear guides, the hydrostatic guides feature no metal-to-metal contact. The guide carriages move on a thin cushion of high pressure fluid, the end result being zero wear of the guideways. An integral hydraulic controller means the hydrostatic guides are ready-to-fit and the mounting dimensions are interchangeable with monorail guidance systems.

Bearing life of hydrostatic guides can be considered infinite, as there is no bearing wear, resulting in longer machine life and extended rigidity and precision. Crash protection also improves, because the oil pressure in the pocket increases as the cutting load is applied, creating a restoring force that prevents the fluid gap from closing under very high impact load.

To date, most hydrostatic guides have been relatively expensive, time-consuming to mount and require a larger design envelope compared to profiled rail guides. However, the new HLE guides are manufactured to fit within the standard design space of a profiled rail linear guide. For machine builders, this ease of mounting means that design and assembly costs can be reduced.

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