When motion control components get smaller, the engineering challenges get bigger. Consider miniature linear bearings for instance. In bearing sizes under 25-mm, challenges related to long-term maintenance, bearing load capacity and design flexibility become more pronounced than on bigger units. Here’s a look at how we’ve addressed those challenges as miniature bearings become more popular in medical, surgical, life science and robotics applications:

No More Maintenance. One of the surest ways to keep miniature bearings running smoothly for the long haul is to make sure they are lubricated regularly or have an integrated lubrication mechanism. Most of our miniature bearings, for instance, can make use of our C-Lube long-term lubrication system, which offers a controlled release of lubricant over 20,000 km of operation. We can integrate C-Lube technology into bearings as small as 3-mm wide.

Small Bearings, Big Loads. Another issue with most miniature linear bearing lines is the limited range of sizes and bearing capacities. However, our standard miniature line spans a wide range from 1-mm to 25-mm wide, with wide-carriage options as high as 42-mm. We’re also unique in offering our miniature carriages in up to four different lengths—compact, standard, long and extra-long in many sizes. With all the different widths and slider lengths, you can easily tailor a miniature bearing system to your payload requirements. And keep in mind, our largest linear bearings with the larger carriage lengths can handle much higher dynamic and moment loads than you would think possible with a miniature unit. Our largest “miniature” models for example, have dynamic load ratings in excess of 16,600 N (LWLG25) and moment load ratings over 320 N•m (MLFG42) in the roll axis.

Many Options. Usually with miniature bearings, you give up some design flexibility. Not so with our line. In addition to the wide range of track width and carriage sizes, we have other options that increase your design flexibility. Among them:

  • Interchangeable components, even with light preload.
  • Corrosion resistant coatings.
  • Ceramic balls.
  • Stainless steel or carbon steel rails.
  • Stainless steel end plates for applications with thermal extremes.
  • Bottom-mounted, threaded mounting hole rails
  • C-Lube options (long-term maintenance-free operation)

Watch our latest video for a quick overview of miniature linear bearings.

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