Long Life Needle blog

When you need a small, lightweight bearing to rotate a heavy load with minimal friction, machined type needle roller bearings are often the appropriate choice. Thanks to their low sectional height, outer ring with stable high rigidity and high- or low-speed rotation capabilities, they can be ideal for a variety of general-purpose applications and machine profiles. Additional advantages of machined needle roller bearings include:

  • Lower rotational torque for exceptional mechanical efficiency.
  • Minimal inertia when the load is put into motion.
  • Smaller spacing pitch between needles, which makes them particularly suitable for oscillating motion.

However, some heavy duty applications can wear out these bearings faster, requiring them to be replaced more often, until now. IKO has introduced a new machined needle roller bearing — the Extended Life Specification bearing — that delivers both performance and an extended operating life up to five times longer than standard needle roller bearings.

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Extended Life Specification machined needle roller bearings receive a special heat treatment that enhances their surface hardness and toughness to minimize damage over time. The bearings can achieve long lifetimes even under high load or when the lubrication is contaminated with foreign substances. In fact, when life-tested under load conditions at 50 percent of the basic dynamic load rating, IKO’s Extended Life Specification with special heat treatment lasted five times longer when compared to the standard heat-treated products.

IKO International custom-builds Extended Life Specification machined-type needle roller bearings upon request in addition to a full range of standard products to suit a variety of conditions. Standard machined needle roller bearings come in metric series and inch series, both of which are available as caged type and guide type (full-complement). Customers can also specify a bearing that uses a hardened shaft as the raceway surface, eliminating the inner ring to create a compact design.

Long on Benefits Plus Longer Life
When it comes to choosing a needle roller bearing that can handle heavy loads with less friction, and which can last up to five times longer, the answer is simple. IKO International’s Extended Life Specification bearings combine heavy load handling, rigidity, light weight and space savings with added surface toughness to deliver performance benefits and a longer operating life — even for demanding applications.

For more information about IKO International’s Machined Needle Roller Bearings, including Extended Life Specification bearings, visit the product page.


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Machine designers have come to rely on roller type linear motion rolling guides for their excellent load handling, accuracy and rigidity. This type of guide is able to deliver these benefits because their slide units contain multiple rolling elements which create a larger contact area with the rail surface than ball-type guides. However, some applications can demand performance over and above what standard linear roller motion guides can provide.

One way to improve the performance of linear roller guides is to reduce the running deflection. During travel, the movement of the slide unit can cause repeated pulsations in a vertical direction. These fluctuations can affect the guide’s accuracy and smooth motion. IKO International offers a special specification for its C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX series that suppresses small running deflections and fluctuations when used with industrial machines requiring highly precise linear motion.

Low-Deflection Linear Guides Provide Multiple Benefits
The IKO C-Lube Linear Roller Way product family provides the high-performance features machine designers expect from linear roller guides along with long-term, maintenance-free operation. The Super MX Master Grade low-fluctuation model is ideal for applications like machine tools which demand excellent rigidity for handling large, heavy parts yet still need a high level of precision.

Super MX Master Grade units are best suited for applications requiring:

  • Low fluctuation.
  • Maximum rigidity.
  • Increased load capacity.
  • High precision.
  • Long-term, maintenance-free operation.

IKO International’s C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX Master Grade guides boast several performance advantages that set them apart from other linear motion devices:

  • Small running deflection. The roller raceway surface with improved performance suppresses the running deflection, and it reduces fluctuation by approximately 50 percent compared to standard extra-long units. Testing has shown that Super MX Master Grade guides exhibit a running deflection value within 0.0090 µm (9.0 nm).
  • Low fluctuation. The Super MX Master Grade’s low fluctuation characteristics result in steady, smooth travel for demanding, high-precision applications.
  • Extra-long slide unit. Because more rollers are built into the slide unit, load capacity, rigidity and running performance are optimized for machine tool and semiconductor manufacturing, and any other type of mechanical device requiring high precision.
  • Long-term, maintenance-free. IKO’s C-Lube self-lubricating system uses a built-in capillary element to provide long-term, maintenance-free operation while minimizing the amount of lubrication required and the associated expenses.

The C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX Master Grade guide is available in various load capacities and mounting configurations. The supported models are: MXL, MXDL, MXSL, MXNL and MXNSL.

The Best of Both Worlds: Accurate Linear Motion and Reduced Fluctuation
Designers of machine tool and semiconductor manufacturing equipment can realize high precision while managing deflections that can cause vertical fluctuations. IKO International’s C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX Master Grade series combines the excellent load handling, rigidity and accuracy that characterize roller-type linear guides with the ability to suppress small running deflections, while providing long-term, maintenance-free operation.

For more information on IKO International’s Super MX Master Grade Linear Roller Way, download our brochure.

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Robotics and automated machinery demand highly versatile bearings. Not only must bearings carry diverse loads with high precision, robotic motion is also becoming more complex. Machine designers must also fit their bearings into shrinking mechanisms like articulating arms that position and rotate objects.

Crossed roller bearings are designed to make line-contact with the raceway surface to give them their excellent rigidity and load handling ability while minimizing deformation and maximizing accuracy. The same construction that allows them to achieve heavy-duty performance also gives them the versatility today’s robotic applications demand. For instance, IKO International’s crossed roller bearings are engineered to handle radial, thrust and moment loads at the same time, which makes them particularly suitable for applications with complex motion.

Among the wide range of IKO’s crossed roller bearings, customers can choose bearings with extra-high rigidity or satisfy restrictive space and weight requirements for robotic mechanisms that perform light-duty wrist and arm motion. Here’s how IKO crossed roller bearings can help satisfy your specific industrial robot requirements:

When your application requires very high rigidity:

  • CRBH Series crossed roller bearings feature solid, non-separable inner and outer ring construction to easily achieve high rigidity and high accuracy without being affected by surrounding structures. Suitable for applications with medium to high rotational speeds, the bearings incorporate separators between the cylindrical rollers to provide smooth rotation.
  • CRBF Series bearings combine high rigidity, accuracy and easy installation. Mounting holes allow them to be bolted quickly onto the assembly. This type also incorporates separators between the cylindrical rollers.

When you need high performance while occupying less space:

  • CRBS Series. These slim crossed roller bearings feature a small outside diameter compared to the inside diameter, plus a narrow width. These are available with a retainer, with separators or as a full-compliment internal construction.
  • CRBT Series super slim crossed roller bearings measure just 5.5 millimeters in sectional height and 5 millimeters in width to meet machine downsizing and lightweight requirements. Separators between the cylindrical rollers provide smooth rotation.

Satisfy Diverse Motion Requirements With Rigidity and Accuracy
Robotic systems are challenging machine designers with varying motion requirements that can include heavy or light-duty load handling as well as the ability to perform complex tasks in less space. IKO International’s lineup of crossed roller bearings exhibits rigidity, smooth motion and accuracy along with a choice of sizes and constructions to fit various rotating and positioning mechanisms. This versatility makes them especially well-suited for designers looking to address the diverse needs of today’s industrial robots.

For more information about IKO International’s crossed roller bearings for industrial robot applications, visit https://www.ikont.com/rotary-bearings/crossed-roller-bearings.



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Discover a line of lightweight positioning tables that satisfies a variety of motion needs. This video highlights several styles of IKO International positioning tables that provide precise, responsive motion for a variety of applications, from semiconductor manufacturing equipment to assembly systems.




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When a machine or system requires linear motion, designers typically must weigh the performance they want in a linear guide against its cost. If this decision is based primarily on cost, ball-type linear motion devices will probably come to mind as an economical choice. By contrast, linear roller guides, may be thought to have a higher price tag, but their superior performance can actually yield greater cost benefits — particularly when they also offer built-in maintenance features — thus making them the wiser choice.

Cylindrical Rollers Enhance Load Capacity and Rigidity

IKO International’s C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX Series is a perfect example of the excellent performance and value that linear roller guides can offer. These rolling motion guides are built with cylindrical rollers that make a large contact area with the raceway, giving them several performance benefits that set them apart from other linear motion devices:

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  • Greater load handling. The larger contact area between the rollers and the rail produces higher load ratings.
  • Higher rigidity. Cylindrical rollers have less elastic deformation under load, adding to the higher rigidity.
  • Excellent positioning accuracy and friction characteristics. A unique retaining plate configuration, in which the end faces of cylindrical rollers are guided accurately by the retaining plate, prevents the rollers from skewing while ensuring smooth motion and superior friction versus other motion guides. And since frictional resistance and variation are small, high-speed response characteristics to motion commands and high-accuracy positioning can be achieved.
  • Outstanding vibration damping: Higher rigidity yields smaller deformation value during repeated fluctuating loads. The natural frequency is high, and the vibration damping time can be very short.

This combination of high-performance characteristics makes the Super MX Series perfect for machine tools as well as semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Long-Term Maintenance-Free Operation Extends Benefits

Not only do these IKO guides offer outstanding performance, their integrated C-Lube technology helps save money. This self-lubricating system uses a built-in capillary element to provide long-term, maintenance-free operation while minimizing the amount of lubrication required and the associated expenses.

Specialty versions of the Linear Roller Way Super MX Series are available to meet specific requirements, including:

  • Corrosion resistance: The stainless steel version of the linear roller guides is available for use in clean rooms and other environments where rust-prevention is important.
  • An extra-long unit: This version features an extra-long slide unit type that is 1.4- to 1.5-times longer than the standard type. With additional built-in rollers, the unit features enhanced load capacity, running performance and rigidity.
  • An extra-long unit with low fluctuation: The Linear Roller Way Super MX Master Grade suppresses small running deflection for greatly reduced fluctuation compared to standard extra-long units.

High Performance Sets Linear Roller Guides Apart

When designers take a closer look at the advantages linear roller guides can provide, the choice becomes obvious. IKO’s C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX Series provides an exceptional combination of high-performance features and long-term maintenance-free operation to deliver the best value and performance available among linear motion systems.

For more information on IKO International’s C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX guides, please visit http://www.ikont.com/linear-guides/roller-type-linear-motion-rolling-guides.


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The food processing industry places stringent demands on its equipment, so it’s important to make sure the motion devices you choose are protected from the conditions. Equipment used in food processing plants must address two main threats: corrosion due to high humidity and bacteria build-up that can compromise food safety.

IKO International offers many motion devices made of stainless steel to resist corrosion in food environments. For instance, IKO stainless steel guides can be mounted for either vertical or horizontal linear motion and are suitable for use in a wide variety of product handling, cutting and sealing applications. Products are also available with protective features and options that can ensure long life while meeting industry certifications for cleanliness. Here are some features IKO motion products offer for food processing environments:

  • Stainless steel construction. This corrosion-resistant material is essential for any equipment that is in a high humidity environment.
  • Black chrome surface treatment. A black permeable film on the rail and slide unit that resists corrosion, with a protective acrylic resin coat for added protection.
  • Fluorine black chrome surface treatment. Fluorine black chrome surface treatment improves corrosion-resistant characteristics further than acrylic resin coating, and it prevents foreign matter from adhering to the surface.
  • H-1 Food-grade lubricants. H-1 lubricants help protect against wear and corrosion for parts that may come into incidental contact with food. IKO H-1 Food Grade Lubricant is NSF registered and FDA certified which ensures that they are produced and delivered with the hygienic standard. 
  • C-Lube technology. This innovative IKO technology features a built-in element that provides long-term, maintenance-free operation. In fact, customers can pair C-Lube technology with H-1 food-grade lubricant for added safety.

Achieve Accurate Motion While Meeting Sanitation Requirements

IKO International offers accurate and durable stainless steel motion products along with many options to protect your equipment in highly humid, corrosive environments. And, special lubricants and C-Lube technology can alleviate maintenance concerns. Choosing the right IKO product can help improve your food processing operations while meeting the food industry’s strict sanitary requirements.

For more information about IKO products, visit www.ikont.com.



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Machine designers looking to attach a motor to IKO’s high-precision TE Series ball screw positioning tables have always been able to purchase brackets with metric mounts. However, designers may not know that IKO International now offers motor bracket attachments with imperial dimensions to fit NEMA sizes.

Optional Mounting Brackets Can House Metric or NEMA Motors

Users can now pair the high-precision TE Series positioning table with NEMA Type 17C, 23D and 34D size motors from the servo industry’s foremost and trusted manufacturers. This makes specifying the table easier and provides machine designers with more flexibility when selecting a motor. And, four tapped mounting holes make installation easy.

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Made from a high-strength aluminum alloy with steel raceways, TE Series ball screw positioning tables feature a slide table inside a U-shaped bed. The units boast high precision ±0.002 mm repeatability and good positioning accuracy of 0.035 mm. Best of all, the tables are compact and lightweight. The mass of the entire body is <5 lbs. for a 500 mm stroke length (TE60BS). Cross-sectional heights are as low as 26 mm. These attributes help reduce equipment size and energy consumption. And, sensors can install directly on an integrated sensor rail to further minimize the table size.

Additional features of the TE Series ball screw positioning tables include:

  • Standard or flanged slide table configurations.
  • Options for dual slide tables.
  • Long-term, maintenance-free lubrication with C-Lube technology.
  • Dust protection cover.
  • Space-saving fold-back mounting adapter designed to reduce the overall length of the table.

Thanks to new mounting brackets, machine designers are now able to use their preferred NEMA-style motors in IKO’s TE Series ball screw positioning tables. This new flexibility adds to the tables’ already exceptional mix of cost, size and precision advantages.

For more information on IKO International’s TE Series Positioning Tables, please visit http://ikont.com/positioning-stages/ball-screw-drive-positioning-tables


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When it comes to linear motion systems, machine designers seek a durable, yet quiet sliding unit that can achieve smooth and accurate positioning and operate within a limited amount of space. Previously, finding a linear slide unit that meets all these requirements has been a difficult task. However, advances in slide unit design have finally made this combination of attributes possible in a single device.

Linear slide manufacturers constantly work to innovate ball, raceway table and track arrangements to address travel accuracy and friction. They also employ robust construction materials and special resins to manipulate the balls to produce high-precision linear slides that can be used in a diverse range of applications requiring high performance and durability such as measuring equipment, disk drives, IC manufacturing and inspection drivers.

IKO International’s precision linear slide units, for example, are comprised of a precision-formed stainless steel raceway table and track rail bed. The steel balls are arranged in two rows with each ball contacting the raceways at four points to ensure stable load capacity. IKO precision-grinds the raceway and track rails to minimize noise and ensure very smooth motion with low friction. The high-precision linear guides offer superior positioning accuracy, even when used for very short strokes. And, their simple design helps keep the size and weight of the units small so they can be used in compact equipment.

While high-precision linear slides provide exceptional benefits, it’s important to make sure you have the right slide for the job. IKO International offers four types of precision motion slide units to suit various applications.

  • BSP non-recirculating type. A special synthetic resin retainer secures the balls and eliminates ball contact noise. Not only do the units provide extremely smooth and light movement in a limited stroke length, they also operate without worry of interruptions due to stick slips. The units are available in widths from 7 mm to 25 mm and track lengths from 15 mm to 100 mm.
  • BSPG non-recirculating type. A rack and pinion assembly engages with the raceway table and track to prevent cage creeping and ensure accuracy. Widths range from 12 mm to 25 mm, and track lengths range from 25 mm to 100 mm.
  • BSR recirculating type. This type of slide features a special synthetic resin circulator to recirculate the balls, permitting longer stroke lengths with low noise. The units are available in widths from 12 mm to 25 mm and track lengths from 30 mm to 100 mm.
  • BWU non-recirculating type. This slide is perfect for applications requiring very high rigidity, even under fluctuating and complex loads. Table widths are as low as 6 mm, and track lengths reach 120 mm.

High-precision linear motion slides also feature non-flammable or self-extinguishing materials for all organic components for added safety. Also a simple design which minimizes manufacturing and assembly errors allows them to be used in home appliances and office equipment.

No Need to Compromise. When machine designers require linear slides for their motion systems, they demand high accuracy, smooth motion and quiet operation, all in a durable and compact unit. Finding all these benefits in one unit has traditionally been difficult to achieve without compromise. Thanks to constant improvements in construction and component arrangement by IKO, today’s machine designers can have it all.

For more information on IKO Precision Linear Slide Units, visit our Specialized Linear Motion Rolling Guides Product Page.




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Machine designers are increasingly turning to crossed roller bearings for use in motion systems thanks to their high accuracy, rigidity and efficiency. This type of bearing uses alternately crossed rollers positioned at right angles to each other between inner and outer rings, which allows them to take radial, thrust and moment loads from any direction at the same time. Because the rollers make line contact with raceway surfaces, there’s less deflection under load and more rigidity. Crossed roller bearings are particularly suitable for applications with moderate rotational speed such as industrial robots, machine tools and medical equipment, especially because they come with a spacer to separate one roller from the other.

Although they offer undeniable benefits, not all crossed roller bearings are created equal. IKO International, for example, incorporates special construction features into CRBFV and CRBHV Series bearings to provide very high rigidity and to meet specific design requirements. Here are some features to look for when selecting a crossed roller bearing:

  • One-piece Construction. Crossed roller bearings are available with solid, non-separable inner and outer ring construction that allows them to easily achieve high rigidity and high accuracy without being affected by surrounding structures.
  • Compact Size. The rollers’ orthogonal arrangement results in a smaller contact area versus mounting single row roller or ball bearings, which also means a more compact, space-saving design.
  • Easy Installation. IKO’s CRBFV crossed roller bearings feature mounting holes on both the inner and outer rings so they can be mounted without special housings or fixing plates. This combination of pre-drilled holes and one-piece construction virtually eliminates mounting errors.

A Single Crossed Roller Bearing Provides All the Essential Benefits. Crossed roller bearings are an attractive option for machine designers who need to handle radial, thrust and moment loads at the same time in their motion systems. Bearings such as IKO’s CRBFV and CRBHV Series offer non-separable construction, compact size and easy installation to yield high rigidity, accuracy and mounting ease. These features make IKO crossed roller bearings the perfect choice for motion systems with relatively high rotational speeds.

For more information on IKO Crossed Roller Bearings, visit our Crossed Roller Bearings product page.




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Machine designers incorporating a crossed roller linear rolling guide into their motion system often have to weigh its use versus the potential for cage creep as well as the guide's ability to carry a heavy load. This blog will examine these important considerations.

As the name suggests, these specialized guides use cages with alternately crossed cylindrical rollers between two V-shaped ways that act as track grooves to allow loading in any direction. The cage separates the rollers to prevent rubbing friction and drag to ensure both smooth and highly accurate linear motion.

Over time, a conventional crossed roller assembly may see the cage develop "creep" - a condition that has vexed machine designers for years. It is particularly prevalent in vertical orientations where gravity acts against the cage. As a result, the cage tends to drift to one side and potentially incur skidding or hitting of the end stops, which can cause cage deterioration, bending, cracking or even damage to the machine itself. No operator wants to shut the machine down for repair or cage reset.

To combat cage creep, linear guide manufacturers have added mechanisms to their crossed roller devices. One successful approach adds a rack and pinion to the crossed roller way assembly. This keeps the cage's position in its proper place while also supporting high-speed movement. However, some crossed roller way guides have limited load-carrying abilities.

IKO International builds on the speed and accuracy of the rack and pinion mechanism by increasing the bearings' rigidity to accommodate higher loads. The company has reduced the pitch between the rollers of its CRWG…H Series crossed roller linear guides, enabling more rollers to be incorporated into the assembly. The added rigidity from the extra rollers results in dynamic load capacities that range from 525N to 35,700N in stroke lengths from 3 mm to 148 mm, depending on the model and size (1.5-mm roller diameter to 4-mm roller diameter). This anti-creep crossed roller bearing now makes it possible for designers to incorporate a crossed roller linear rolling guide that not only solves cage creep, it also handles greater load capacity while reducing machine size and extending the lifetime.

For more information about the CRWG...H Series crossed linear roller guides, visit our Specialized Linear Motion Rolling Guides product page.




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If you’re looking for linear guides that provide high accuracy, rigidity and design flexibility, even under complex or fluctuating loads, consider our C-Lube Linear Ball Spline MAG series.

These guides enable continuous linear motion of an external cylinder along a spline shaft. And with their minimal lubrication requirements, they provide long-term, maintenance-free operation in applications ranging from medical equipment to semiconductor manufacturing.

Here are some of their key features:

Compact, yet rigid. Thanks to their simple structure and using a unique ball-retaining mechanism, these guides don’t require a ball retainer, leaving room for small shaft diameters and external cylinder outside diameters. Our smallest size (model LSAG2), for example, achieves a shaft diameter of 2 mm and external cylinder outside diameter of 6 mm.

But despite their compact size, these guides are tough. They feature a four-point contact, two-row raceway design—ensuring high accuracy and rigidity under loads up to 1,800 N (dynamic rating – C) and 2,470 N (static rating – Co).

Interchangeable. Because of their interchangeable specification, you can easily mix and match external cylinders and spline shafts to meet the specific needs of your application. External cylinders come in two designs—a standard cylindrical shape and flange type—and two lengths—standard and long. The MAG comes in six different models with spline shaft diameters ranging from 4 to 12 mm.

Maintenance-free. Because of their minimal lubrication requirements, these guides are also environmentally friendly. In one test, they required zero maintenance—even after 600 million total strokes under severe operating conditions.

To learn more about our C-Lube Linear Ball Spline MAG guides, visit our Ball Spline Rolling Guides product page.



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When it comes to linear guides, there’s nothing worse than having to purchase a completely new assembly if just one component fails. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to look for linear guide systems featuring interchangeable parts that can be mixed, matched and swapped out as needed.

Increased System Flexibility. IKO offers most of its slide units and track rails as separate, interchangeable components. If a bearing goes bad, simply swap out the failed slide unit with a new one provided the rail is not also damaged. In addition to simplified maintenance, this interchangeability allows you to easily modify your guide system. Rail lengths can be cut to order, and carriages can be added or removed from the track to build a flexible system that can evolve as manufacturing needs change.

Having this interchangeable specification makes it easy to prepare for a number of different scenarios. Perhaps the length of your track rail is no longer sufficient, for example. Or you simply want to store extra slide units in case of an emergency.

Interchange Unit, Accuracy And Preload. Slide units from IKO are available in different shapes, mountings and lengths for easy replacement on the same track rail. This unit interchangeability allows you to order parts separately and assemble them into different sets as required.

You can choose from several slide unit lengths, depending on the size and series—short, standard, long and extra long—and from three accuracy classes, including Ordinary, High and Precision. Preload settings can also be tailored according to your application, enabling you to improve the rigidity of your unit without making any time-consuming or costly design changes.

To learn more, download the white paper, Miniature Linear Bearings Offer Maximum Performance.

Download the White Paper



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If you work with linear bearings, factory environments that have a lot of dust, metal chips or other particulates can be a nightmare. If these contaminants get inside the raceways, the bearing can fail prematurely—causing time-consuming and costly downtime for your application.

The good news is IKO linear bearings have built-in features that guard against contamination. Consider the following options:

C-Wiper. As the bearing moves, a dust-protective C-Wiper creates a barrier between the outside environment and rolling elements, adding an extra layer of sealing protection. Mounted to the outside of the end seal, the C-Wiper ensures operation in environments where metal chips are spattering. After 1,000 km of operation during durability tests, the C-Wiper prevented foreign substances from entering the slide unit with no damage to the end seal. C-Wipers are available on roller-type bearings only.

Rail caps. Most rails contain mounting holes, which can easily become filled with foreign particulates. Inserting plastic, aluminum or brass caps prevents substances from entering into the slide unit. Another solution is to eliminate mounting holes altogether. Some sizes and series have a bottom-mount option.

Sheets, plates and scrapers. Rail cover sheets, which consist of adhesive tape and steel plates, can be fastened to the groove on the surface of the rail to prevent materials from getting inside. To that end, you can use cover plates to guard the entire surface. Mounted to the outside of the end seal, scrapers remove larger chips and particulates that stick to the rail.

Depending on how extreme your environment is, you may require more than one design feature to effectively guard your linear bearings against contaminants.

Learn more about the MX range.


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Crossed roller bearings can handle complex loads in any axis, making them a great fit for robot, machine tool and other industrial applications. Watch our video to learn more.


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In many machine building applications, engineers face limitations in how they can integrate cam followers into their design–an issue that often boils down to ease of mounting the cam follower.

When mounting is an issue, it’s important to consider the following when selecting your cam follower:

  • Double hex hole design. Cam followers, like our CFKR model, feature hexagon holes on both stud ends, letting you easily mount them with a hexagon wrench from either side. You can therefore install them in tight, hard-to-reach spots on your machine and then tighten them from the opposite end. With this design, the mounting options are limitless.
  • Design flexibility. Having a wide range of design and size options matters if you want to maximize the performance of your linear bearings. CFKR cam followers are available in sizes as high as 90 mm roller diameter, depending on your application. Also, be sure to look for variations in roller guide method (cage or full complement), shape of the outer ring outside the surface (crowned or cylindrical) and seal structure (shielded or sealed type). We also have an Easy Mounting Type cam follower that is somewhat unique to IKO and allows for additional design flexibility.
  • High load ratings. Too many linear bearings on the market today are limited in terms of the loads they can bear. CFKR bearings, however, demonstrate superior rotational performance and high load capacity. Consider the CFKR 90 V model, which features dynamic and static load ratings in excess of 67,000 and 144,000 N, respectively, compared to 40,500 and 83,000 N for similar cam followers on the market.

You can learn more about our CFKR line of cam followers here.




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A company that supplies furniture for a high-end retail store uses our linear guides in its drawer units. Normally, for this kind of application, a standard aluminum drawer slide with minimal accuracy would suffice. But because the units are used in such a high-end environment, the customer wanted a higher quality system. Should someone put weight on the drawer or slam it shut, for example, the unit wouldn’t break.

In this recent application, not only were our linear guides used in an innovative way, but our engineers provided our customer with the technical knowledge they needed to overcome two design challenges.

Overcoming Mounting Issues. Instead of using standard drawer slides, the customer chose IKO linear guides for their high accuracy and smoothness. The components were mounted onto a metal bracket, resulting in unwanted friction as soon as they were tightened. As a result, it became difficult to open the drawer.

The customer consulted us, and we worked with the furniture engineers on-site. We discovered that the brackets were non-machined, which made for a wavy mounting surface. As a result, deflection was occurring on the linear track rail. We solved this problem by working with our customer to machine-grind the brackets, creating a flat mounting surface and enabling the guides to travel smoothly along the rails.

Overcoming Installation Issues. A second obstacle arose during installation of the linear guides. Rail bearings are typically mounted onto a plastic “dummy” rail during assembly and packaging, which helps retain the balls in the housing and also mount the bearing onto the rail. Because they weren’t using the dummy rail, however, the furniture engineers had difficulty transferring the linear guides to the rails without dislodging the balls.

Again, we provided our customer with the hands-on expertise they needed to properly install our product. The end result is that we were able to help our customer construct high-quality, robust drawer units for the retail store. No matter what phase of the design process our customer is in, whether prototyping or final assembly, our engineers are always available to solve simple and complex engineering problems.

You can learn more about our linear guides here.



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Designing complex motion systems for medical and lab automation equipment has gotten harder. To keep pace, it’s important to choose the right motion control components. This includes linear guides that are miniature, smooth and maintenance-free. Watch our video to learn more about what to look for when designing the next generation of medical machines.


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In the semiconductor, medical, surgical, robotics and precision machinery industries, components must sometimes be sized to the smallest dimensions possible to meet demanding performance criteria. When bearing sizes range from 1 to 42 mm, load capacity and maintenance can become more of an issue than in larger units.

In a new white paper, IKO addresses some of the most important considerations you should keep in mind when specifying miniature bearings. They include:

  • Zero maintenance lubrication. In moving systems, proper lubrication is key. This is especially true in smaller components that have harder to reach areas. IKO solves this problem in its line of miniature guides by using C-Lube, a built-in lubricating element that provides you with long lasting, maintenance free operation through capillary action.
  • Multiples sizes and load capacities. Sizes and load ratings in miniature linear bearings are often limited. In IKO’s standard miniature line, however, track widths range from 1 to 42 mm. At the same time, they feature dynamic load ratings of more than 16,700 N and moment load ratings higher than 320 N●m in the roll axis.
  • High performance materials and coatings. When material choices for miniature bearings are limited, engineers tend to either over-specify or under-specify the components that make up the larger system. IKO’s miniature guides are available in various materials and coatings, allowing them to be used in demanding environments facing humidity, moisture or thermal extremes.
  • Interchangeable, flexible components. Instead of having to purchase a completely new setup after just one part fails, look for linear guides that feature interchangeable parts. IKO offers slide units and track rails as separate pieces, which means you can simply swap out the failed unit for a new one.

To learn more, download the white paper, Miniature Linear Bearings Offer Maximum Performance.

Download the White Paper


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Miniature bearings are often supplied “as is” with very few options available when it comes to material choices. This lack of choice probably won't pose any problems in lightly-loaded, intermittent-use applications. But having a wide range of material choices starts to matter if you want to maximize the performance of your miniature linear bearings.

The right rail steel. For example, we offer miniature guides with either stainless steel or carbon steel rails. Stainless steel enables use in clean rooms and other demanding environments, while high carbon steel models are designed for all-purpose use. Stainless steel end plates are also available for applications experiencing thermal extremes. In addition, a special grade of nonmagnetic hard alloy is available for use in areas that are sensitive to magnetic fields such as certain medical and surgical equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.

Upgrade the balls. The balls that reside inside the carriages are available in three materials as well—stainless steel, carbon steel and ceramic. In extremely humid conditions, even stainless steel can develop rust over time, which makes ceramic balls a better choice in this scenario. Other benefits of ceramic over stainless steel include exceptional performance with higher rigidity, less deformation, improved speed and reduced noise. In applications involving high humidity, extreme speeds or strict noise requirements, ceramic balls are a better choice than stainless versions.

Consider coatings. Specialized coatings are another option to consider. In extreme environments facing high humidity or moisture, corrosion-resistant coatings add an extra degree of protection for guide rails and housings. Coatings are easily specified and applied at the factory prior to delivery. 

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Not long ago, the motion systems used in medical and lab automation equipment had technical requirements that were easy to satisfy. These lightly loaded applications generally required simple point-to-point moves with low to moderate positioning accuracy requirements.

With the exception of surgical robots and some diagnostic systems, many medical machines still have modest positioning accuracy requirements compared to applications such as semiconductor and electronics assembly. Yet the motion axes in medical machines have to run smoothly, quietly and sometimes at high speeds.

Medical motion systems have therefore had to become more sophisticated to keep pace with two unfolding trends in the medical machine marketplace:

  • Miniaturization. Diagnostic equipment, DNA sequencers and other types of automation systems occupy less space than in years past, and these machines increasingly require streamlined mechanical designs.
  • Increasing demand for reliability and low cost of ownership. Linear guides can make a big difference in how well the machine runs and how much it will cost to keep running.

The next generation of medical machines will need linear guides that are compact relative to the loads they carry. They will also need to run smoothly with adequate precision and integrate design features that ensure the machine has a long, trouble-free life.

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Metal-on-metal wear is one of the main causes of maintenance and downtime in cam-driven machines. Unless you want to deal with the expense of pitted cam surfaces or seized cam followers, you’ll have to adhere to a strict lubrication regimen.

To keep cam-driven systems running their best, you’ll need to apply lubricant to the exterior cam surfaces as well as to the interior of any rolling cam followers. It’s a lot of maintenance to keep straight, and in practice, many cam-driven machines don’t get the lubrication they really need.

However, there is an alternative to the oil-can approach. You can simply specify permanently-lubricated cam followers for your machines. We offer two different types to address the need for external and internal lubrication. Both types are based on C-Lube, an oil-impregnated polymer pad that slowly releases lubricant onto any metal surfaces it contacts.

  • Externally lubricated. To handle the lubrication between the cam follower and the cam’s running surface, we’ve incorporated C-Lube into an external unit that mounts like a hood over the cam follower. It not only provides permanent lubrication to protect expensive cam surfaces from wear but also lubricates without the contamination that occurs when you apply an external lubricant.
  • Internally lubricated. Some of our cam follower models also have a C-Lube component integrated into the space beneath the cam follower’s outer ring. This C-Lube integration handles the lubrication of the cam follower needle bearings and internal components, eliminating the need to apply lubricant through the cam follower’s grease nipple.

Both C-Lube technologies can last for years without significant degradation of their lubricating capabilities. In testing, for example, we’ve had C-Lube running in cam follower applications for more than 16,000 km while still retaining 95% of its lubricating oil.

You can learn more about C-Lube cam follower bearings here.


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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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Wildcat Technologies makes laboratory and well site pyrolysis instrumentation for the oil and gas industry. For a crucial role in its flagship HAWK (Hydrocarbon Analysis With Kinetics) instrument, the company uses precision positioning tables from IKO International, Inc.

Wildcat Technologies’ HAWK instrument uses about 100 milligrams of 60 mesh size ground rock to measure all the normal pyrolysis parameters like total organic carbon (TOC), free oil (S1), kerogen yield (S2), organic carbon dioxide yield (S3) and maturity (Tmax). It also measures inorganic carbon which provides the carbonate carbon content of rock samples.

Reliable positioning tables. For the HAWK, Wildcat Technologies sought out a precise, robust slide that allowed them to do multiple pyrolysis samples at the same time. After mulling over several options, the company found that IKO’s TU positioning table was a great fit. IKO designs and manufactures a wide variety of specialized positioning tables that serve as reliable positioning mechanisms within industrial equipment and machinery.

Hawk 3

Download the case study for a closer look at this pyrolysis instrument and the role that IKO’s positioning tables play in Wildcat Technologies’ design.

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Walk through any plant that uses linear motion systems, and you can often see maintenance workers, grease gun in hand, applying lubrication to linear guides. And why shouldn’t they? Under-lubricated guides can wear excessively, which leads to performance problems and premature failure.

These labor-intensive lubrication practices, however, do not come cheap. Manual lubrication can cost upwards of $500 per grease fitting when you consider:

  • The cost of the lubricant itself.
  • The wages of the guy with the grease gun.
  • The fact that many grease fittings are difficult to access and service without triggering some downtime.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of linear guides that offer at least some freedom from lubrication routines. These typically have mechanical designs with provisions for storing and delivering lubricant over long periods of time.

While various takes on maintenance free guides and ways have been around for years, not all of them are created equal. Some focus on achieving the longest possible maintenance-free intervals. Others focus on a compact design that adds as little as possible to the size of the bearing’s mechanical package.

C-Lube linear components have unique designs that balance long service life with compact size. Depending on the functional requirements, these long-term maintenance free linear motion products come in different forms—including roller guides, ball guides and a ball-spline-based shaft guiding system.

To learn more about our different C-Lube variants, download the white paper.

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At IKO, we design and manufacture a wide range of crossed roller bearings that can handle radial, thrust and moment loads at the same time. Apart from our separable standard and slim types—which are separable—our crossed roller bearings have rollers alternately crossed at right angles between inseparable inner and outer rings.

Because the rollers in these bearings make line contact with the raceway surfaces, there’s minimal elastic deformation under load. Most of our crossed roller bearings also have a retainer or separators between cylindrical rollers, allowing for ultra-smooth and high-speed rotation.

Some applications include:

  • Machine tools
  • Industrial robots
  • Medical equipment
  • Semiconductor equipment
  • Turntables
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Theater productions
Crossed Roller Bearings

Sealing. We offer two options for these bearings: open and sealed. The open structure is well-suited to low-energy applications due to the absence of any sealing friction. Sealed types, on the other hand, feature synthetic rubber seals that prevent grease from escaping and protect against dust and contaminants.

Design options. Design options for our crossed roller bearings include a cage, separator and full complement design. Both the cage and separator types provide a small coefficient of friction for high-speed rotation. Full complement bearings handle heavy loads at low speeds.

Here’s a closer look at the different types of crossed roller bearings we offer:

  • Mounting Hole (CRBF). These crossed roller bearings feature mounting holes on both the inner and outer rings for easy installation. Shaft diameters range from 10 to 115 mm.
  • High Rigidity (CRBH). High rigidity crossed roller bearings feature solid, one-piece construction for high accuracy. Smooth rotation comes from separators incorporated between cylindrical rollers, making it suitable for high rotational speeds. Shaft diameters range from 20 to 300 mm.
  • Standard (CRB[C]). Standard crossed roller bearings feature a two-piece outer ring that’s bolted together to prevent separation during transport and installation. Available in caged and full complement types, shaft diameters range from 30 to 800 mm.
  • Slim (CRBS). Slim crossed roller bearings feature a small outside diameter and a narrow width. Available in caged, separator and full complement types, the bearing’s shaft diameters range from 50 to 200 mm.
  • Super Slim (CRBT). Super slim crossed roller bearings feature a compact design that’s 5.5 mm high and 5 mm wide, and separators are incorporated between cylindrical rollers for smooth rotation. Shaft diameters range from 20 to 50 mm.

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If you need an accurate, repeatable positioning table, look no further than our Nano Linear Tables (NT).

Faster and more precise than other options, NT features linear motors and high-resolution encoders for responsive motion, as well as high-carbon steel tables and beds for extra stability. These tables come with high-performance neodymium magnets that enable a maximum thrust of 70 N in a tiny package. They also have built-in C-Lube lubrication units for long life and maintenance-free operation up to 20,000 km and more.

These models are used in a wide range of applications including semiconductor equipment, liquid crystal manufacturing, inspection instruments, liquid handling, pick and place and assembly equipment that require clean environments. We offer four models of NT tables, each with varying technical features and advantages to meet your application needs:

Standard models (NT…V): Compatible with vertical mounting, NT...V is available in three sectional widths with thrusts up to 36 N and stroke lengths between 10 and 120 mm. This model uses our Linear Way L, a miniature linear motion rolling guide for the table guidance.

High accuracy models (NT…H): NT...H offers a maximum thrust of 25 N and stroke lengths from 25 to 65 mm. Its running accuracy is less than 1 µm, thanks to Anti-Creep Cage Crossed Roller Ways used in the table’s guiding parts.

Pick and place models (NT…XZ): This table offers maximum thrust of 50 N on the x axis and 25 N on the z axis, and stroke lengths of 45 mm on x axis and 10 mm on the z axis. This series, which features a thin profile of 18 mm, uses C-Lube Linear Way ML miniature linear motion rolling guide in the table guiding parts.

High thrust pick and place models (NT…XZH): NT...XZH offers a maximum thrust of 70 N in both the x and z axes, with stroke lengths of 25 mm in the x axis and 10 mm in the z axis. Closed loop control with linear encoders in both axes enables both high resolution and extreme responsiveness. This series uses our C-Lube Linear Way ML miniature linear motion rolling guide in the table guiding parts.

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At IKO, we’ve developed a series of needle bearings that incorporate our C-Lube technology to reduce the oiling management workload for our customers. Built into needle bearings and linear motion rolling guides, the C-Lube series keeps products maintenance-free with just the right amount of lubricant for an extended period of time.

Lubricating oil and fine particles of ultra-high molecular weight polyolefin resin are solidified by heat treatment to fill the inner space of the bearing. As the bearing rotates, the lubricating oil keeps the raceways and rolling elements lubricated for a long period of time.

Many of our cam and roller follower needle roller bearings are available in maintenance-free C-Lube versions. The same applies to our machined-type metric needle roller bearings.

Cam Followers. C-Lube cam followers feature a thermoset solid lubricant that’s pre-packed into the bearing space for long lasting, maintenance-free operation. With a stud diameter range from 5mm to 20mm, they’re continuously lubricated for smooth, uninterrupted motion as the bearings rotate.

For even more maintenance time and cost reduction, we offer a separate C-Lube unit that automatically distributes solid lubricant onto the cam follower’s outer ring and mating track surface. The CL unit attaches to the head of the cam follower, eliminating additional work to the bearing system.

C-Lube Cam Followers

In a durability test, our C-Lube cam follower with the C-Lube unit attached ran for 16,000 km, and the cam follower still had 95% of its residual lubricating oil. C-Lube cam followers are ideal for applications such as printing, material handling and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Roller followers. IKO roller followers are designed for outer ring rotation where needle rollers are incorporated in a thick-walled outer ring. They’re used in cam mechanism guides for linear motions of conveying equipment and other similar applications. By incorporating C-Lube into the roller follower’s internal space, it becomes maintenance-free. Other benefits include:

  • Less consumption of lubrication oil. Constant lubrication is unnecessary and the C-Lube technology reduces the consumption of lubrication oil.
  • Use in oil-sensitive applications. Lubrication oil is contained inside the bearing, reducing oil leakage and contamination.
  • Lower costs. C-Lube eliminates the costs of designing oiling devices and/or man-hours needed to re-lubricate the bearings.
Roller Followers

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In the productivity-driven packaging industry, there are many possible sources of downtime. You can eliminate many of them by selecting failure-resistant linear motion components such as robust linear guides and positioning tables. These parts integrate design features that can prevent premature failure due to poor lubrication practices or contamination.

At the same time, however, these guides and tables still have to meet the necessary accuracy, precision and load requirements—all of which are on the upswing in packaging applications. To maximize the lifecycle of these linear motion components, there are three features you should look for:

  • Self-lubrication. Inadequate lubrication is one of the main causes of premature linear guide failure, which can bring packaging lines to a dead stop.
  • Contamination reduction. Packaging applications are highly sensitive to contamination, which has vast implications for productivity. Entire packaging lines can be brought to a halt if contaminants make their way into linear guides.
  • Clearance. With some clearance between the rail and rolling elements, linear guides need less linear forces to move the slider at a given speed, benefitting fast-moving packaging machines.

Selecting linear bearings that self-lubricate, fight contamination and offer some clearance will solve many downtime problems by keeping your linear motion axes running smoothly for the long haul.

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Designed for maintenance-free operation in applications like medical equipment and semiconductor manufacturing, our C-Lube Linear Ball Spline MAG is a rolling guide that enables linear motion along a spline shaft with an external cylinder or slide unit.

The MAG’s splined shaft allows this linear guide to handle radial loads and transmit torque. Its optional stainless steel shaft material is corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for applications in cleanroom environments. In addition, a four-point contact, double-row raceway design gives the ball spline high accuracy and rigidity, even under fluctuating or complex loads.

Flexible design options. For this linear guide, we offer two different cylinder lengths: a standard cylindrical length and a long type. The MAG comes in six different models with spline shaft diameters ranging from 4 to 12 millimeters. Also, this model’s interchangeable specifications allow you to swap out external cylinders or spline shafts if your application requires any design changes or replacement parts.

Premium lubrication. This guide comes with our built-in C-Lube system for long-lasting operation through capillary action, which guarantees zero maintenance for 20,000 kilometers. Due to its minimal lubrication requirements, the C-Lube system also makes the Linear Ball Spline MAG environmentally-friendly.


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For positioning applications that need to strike a balance between cost, size and precision, check out our new TE Precision Positioning Table.

The positioning table's main components are made from high-strength aluminum alloy with steel raceways and feature a slide table inside a U-shaped bed.

Cost Out. By reducing the parts count and optimizing the geometry of the components, we created a cost-effective positioning stage that still delivers in the accuracy department.

Compact Size & Light Weight. The TE Precision Positioning table has a low cross-sectional height of 26mm for TE50B, 33mm for TE60B and 46mm for TE86B. Sensors can be directly installed on an integrated sensor rail, which minimizes table size. The mass of the entire body is less than 5 lbs. for a 20 inch stroke length. These attributes contribute to minimizing equipment size and energy consumption.

Excellent Precision. The repeatability is ± 0.002 millimeters, and the positioning accuracy is as good as 0.035 mm.

The TE table specification can be easily chosen to meet different application requirements. Key features and options include:

  • Precise IKO linear guide technology
  • High-strength aluminum alloy construction integrating steel raceways
  • Precision ball screw with two types of lead
  • Standard or flanged slide table configurations
  • Options for dual slide tables
  • Dust protection cover
  • Long-term maintenance-free C-Lube technology
  • Space-saving motor mount options by using a motor folding back unit
  • NEMA motor attachment bracket is available
  • Available For Quick Ship

Many TE Precision Positioning Tables are stocked in the United States and ship immediately. All other standard configurations and orders of up to five units ship within one month.

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For applications requiring high rigidity, increased load capacity, superior accuracy and long-term maintenance-free operation, our C-Lube Linear Roller Way MXL is the way to go. This model is part of our C-Lube Linear Roller Way Super MX family, which features a range of load capacities and mounting configurations.

Technical features. MXL linear guides feature basic static load ratings that are approximately 180% greater than MX standard units and approximately 130% greater than MXG high rigidity long units (depending on the specific size). In addition, the MXL units are 150% more rigid than MX units and 117% more rigid than MXG units. Running accuracy is also improved by increasing the slide unit length: MXL units contain more rollers than the shorter units, thereby minimizing runout.

Ideal applications. MXL units are suited for many different applications from improving machine tool cutting accuracy to liquid crystal display manufacturing. They’re also good for other applications requiring:

  • Extra high rigidity.
  • Increased load capacity.
  • Superior accuracy.
  • Maintenance-free operation.
  • Maximum rigidity.

Premium lubrication. The C-Lube lubricating element of MXL features a unique capillary system consisting of a porous resin sleeve and steel backing, formed by sintering fine resin powder and impregnating a large oil supply into its open pores. As rollers circulate within the linear guide, lubricant is continuously distributed to the loading area along the track rail.

The result is long-term maintenance-free operation which has been tested to 20,000 kilometers and beyond, and reduced environmental impact due to the small amount of oil required. C-Lube is incorporated inside the slide unit, keeping size and weight to a minimum. Because C-Lube has no contact with the track, smooth motion is achieved without an increase in rolling resistance. Compared to ball bearings, rollers achieve minimal elastic deformation under load.


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With the exception of surgical robots and some diagnostic systems, many medical machines have modest positioning accuracy requirements, at least compared to applications such as semiconductor and electronics assembly. Yet the motion axes in medical machines do have to run smoothly and quietly, sometimes at high speeds.

The next generation of medical machines will need linear guides that are compact relative to the loads they carry. They’ll also need to run smoothly with adequate precision. And finally, they’ll also need design features that ensure that the machine has a long, trouble-free life.

Let’s take a look at how our linear products make medical machines compact, smooth, maintenance-free and long-lasting.

IKO Medical

Compact. We offer an extensive line of miniature linear motion products to meet the requirements of size-constrained medical applications. Among them are the world’s smallest recirculating ball linear guide, which has a track rail width of just 1-mm and a cross sectional height of 2.5-mm. We also offer a tiny ball-spline guide which has a shaft diameter of 2-mm and a cylinder diameter of 6-mm.

Smooth. In medical applications, one of the functional requirements is smoothness. Many guides can move from point to point quickly, but not all can do so smoothly. Medical robots and lab automation systems in particular can be especially sensitive to jerky motion. For medical applications, smoothness counts for more than maximum speed. Smoothness also translates to less noise, and quiet motion components are strongly preferred in any medical machine or diagnostic system used in proximity to patients.

Maintenance-free. The cost of maintenance, particularly lubrication needs, drives up the cost of ownership for many types of moving machines. Medical and lab automation machines are no exception. Our solution to this maintenance problem is a proprietary technology called “C-Lube,” which consists of a porous polymer reservoir that we impregnate with lubricant during our manufacturing process.

Long life. There are many reasons that a linear guide can fail to live up to its projected life cycle. Unabated contamination, for example, can shorten the life of a linear guide. So can excess temperatures. So can mechanical design or installation errors that cause misalignment between the sliders and rails. All these failure modes are possible in medical applications, but the most common and easily avoidable premature failures result from under- or over-lubrication of linear motion components, which can be prevented, once again, with our C-Lube technology.


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The launch, landing and overall mission of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is one of the most daring and successful space exploration endeavors ever undertaken. MSL’s Curiosity rover has already surpassed its 23-month mission target, and it continues to transmit informative images of the Martian surface on a daily basis.

Among the robust components used in the rover is a set of precision linear bearings from IKO, the LWL Miniature Linear Motion Guides, which integrate special features that allow them to operate for years without human intervention.

While most linear motion systems won’t need to withstand the temperature extremes and mechanical stresses that Curiosity endures, the rover’s design can teach engineers how to improve the precision and reliability of earthbound applications. For example, when you know linear bearings will be used in harsh environments, it is important to:

  • Know your design constraints.
  • Consider test and lifecycle data.
  • Remember that even small loads can cause big problems.
  • Remember that small parts can easily malfunction due to debris.
  • Don’t be afraid to rely on outside expertise.

To learn more about what this space mission can teach us about linear motion and harsh environments, download the white paper.

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There are many ways to make linear guides maintenance-free, but these long-term maintenance-free solutions tend to be bulky. Our C-Lube technology is different.

Not only does C-Lube lubricate for 20,000 kilometers, it also doesn’t take up any extra room in the guide housing. In this post, we’ll look at C-Lube linear guides in more detail, and learn how to determine the ideal model for your application.

Reliable lubrication. Depending on the type of linear guide, C-Lube’s elements are formed into either a plate or sleeve shape and are integrated into the bearing’s slider. They then release the impregnated oil slowly through direct, continual contact with the linear guide’s internal rolling elements.

Thanks to this on-going lubrication, C-Lube linear guides provide maintenance-free operation for 20,000 km. In practice, that maintenance-free term often equates to the entire application life.

While the geometry of the lubricating element differs depending on the type of guide, the C-Lube never increases the overall dimensions of the guide. In other words, self-lubrication capabilities, at least for IKO products, do not increase the package size of the guide.


Pick the right model. Because all the C-Lube guides offer the same maintenance-free interval, deciding between them comes down to functional requirements such as the type of load and duty cycle. Here’s an overview of the different C-Lube variants:

  • Roller guides. Designed for applications requiring maximum stiffness and resistance to moment loads, the Linear Roller Way Super MX guides feature a slider that operates on a balanced set of four cylindrical rollers. In roller guides, the C-Lube element has been fashioned into a plate-shaped element housed just behind the slider’s end plates.
  • Ball guides. Familiar ball guides, which run on recirculating steel balls, take on a new twist when combined with C-Lube technology. In C-Lube Linear Ways, the steel balls roll through a porous resin sleeve which is soaked in the base-oil of the internal bearing grease. As the balls travel through the sleeve, they pick up oil themselves and also transfer it to the rail as they come in contact with it. At all times, the balls and rail remain free from any metal-on-metal contact due to the film of lubricant provided by the C-Lube feature.
  • Ball-spline guides. C-Lube Ball Spline MAG guides incorporate an internal oil-impregnated plate-shaped element. As the balls traverse over the C-Lube plate, they pick up oil which lubricates both the balls and the spline shaft—again protecting against metal-on-metal contact.


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For packaging applications that need a compact, cost effective motion stage, IKO has introduced the new TE Precision Positioning Table.  While not as accurate and precise as our premium stages for the semiconductor industry, it brings extra precision to packaging applications without breaking the bank.

The positioning table’s main components are made from high strength aluminum alloy and feature a slide table inside a U-shaped bed.

Cost Out. By reducing the parts count and optimizing the geometry of the components, we created a cost-effective positioning stage that still delivers in the accuracy department.

Compact Size. The TE Precision Positioning table has a low cross sectional height of 26mm for TE50B, 33mm for TE60B and 46mm for TE86B. Sensors can be directly installed on an integrated sensor rail, which contributes to the table’s small size.

Excellent Precision. The best repeatability is ± 0.002 millimeters and the positioning accuracy is as good as 0.035 mm. The TE table can be easily customized to meet different application requirements. Key features and options include:


  • Standard slide table or slide table with flange.
  • Number of slide tables.
  • Dust protection cover.
  • C-Lube built-in lubrication.
  • Precision ball screw.
  • High-strength aluminum alloy.
  • Space-saving motor mount.


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