High Quality Linear Guides in a Hurry

MonoRailPlus_pg3Obtaining quality linear guides could take many weeks – or even months. Every day you are waiting for them to arrive is a day you aren’t shipping your machine.

The Mono Rail Plus FAST Delivery Program allows you to receive linear guides in as quickly as 24 hours so you can keep production going steady. See for yourself by putting your current linear guide up against the Mono Rail Plus in our comparison chart. Our product offers a drop in replacement to linear guides with long lead times. We can have some of our guides to you the next day.

Mono Rail Plus is a profiled rail for high precision under high loads. Four rows of balls run in the self-lubricated slider. The running surfaces of the sliders and rails are hardened and ground. Other features include:

  • Sizes from 15mm to 45mm
  • Standard and long sliders, with and without flange
  • Different precision and preload classes
  • Fixing holes from the bottom also available

The running grooves are ground in a semicircular profile and have a contact angle of 45° in O arrangement to ensure the same load capacity in all principle directions. The use of large steel balls enables high load and moment capacities.

You can configure and order your Mono Rail Plus on www.movefastwithrollon.com

Belt-Driven Actuators Help Save Space, Money

Engineers are always trying to increase productivity from manufacturing lines. Often times they turn to pricey robots and large pieces of capital equipment for palletizing in-process or finished goods for shipping. These machines can take up a great deal of space and potentially cause bottlenecks that form when numerous processes are stationed too close to each other.

PalletizerThe space issues can be solved by using belt-driven actuators. They are a simple, readily-available system capable of being outfitted with any controls or motor package so it can be conveniently integrated into an existing plant management software infrastructure. These can be easily designed in many configurations. The benefits of utilizing belt-driving actuators can be shown by comparing two common examples based on a standard conveyor to palletizer setups that are used in many industries.

6-Axis Robot. A 6-axis robot can be used to build pallets of cases that consist of in-process or finished products. Cases stacked up to 60 feet require a standard pallet that measures 48 inches by 40 inches. A robotic arm with a minimum reach of 96 inches is required to account for the increased distance the arm has to travel in an arc. An arm this size can cost upwards of $50,000. Additionally, a 90-degree rotation requires roughly 200 square feet of floor space to pick up a case.

Aside from the space and cost estimates, there are several safety requirements needed for installing a robot on a manufacturing floor:

  • Safety cage
  • Lock out tag system
  • Light curtains
  • Emergency stop

A multi-axis belt-driven gantry for the same application can occupy the same space as the conveyor and pallet. Taking into account the mounting structure and safety stroke of the actuators, this would account for up to 10 square feet of floor space and between $6,000 and $7,000 per axis, totaling in at $28,000 for a 3-axis, 4-actuator gantry.

Vertical Palletizer. A vertical palletizer can be used if the conveyor line is overhead. If the product isn’t transferred overhead, the machine needs a special inclined conveyor that requires larger motion components to move the product against the force of gravity. In most setups, the machine builds each layer of the pallet and lowers it while simultaneously building the next layer. The layers require rotating packages to form the correct pattern, a process that adds cost to the conveyor because it must be done upstream from the system. They must also be large and strong so they can hold the weight of a growing pallet. This snowball effect can cause some of these machines to cost up to $100,000 and they can take up 300 square feet of space.

A gantry similar to the first example, with an additional vertical lift unit for an elevated conveyor setup, would cost roughly $35,000 and take up no more than 10 percent of the required space.

CAD Models and Drawings Available for ActuatorLINE

ActuatorLINE Series

Rollon Corporation is pleased to announce the latest addition in its line-up of technical tools and services to help customers more quickly access the information they need in developing their linear motion projects.

Rollon has partnered with TraceParts to provide 2-D drawings and 3-D models of all of Rollon’s new ActuatorLINE™ linear modules on the world-wide web.

Start by visiting http://www.tracepartsonline.net, then simply enter “Rollon” in the search bar on this website and there is immediate access to download user configurable models of the most popular ActuatorLINE products.  The downloads are free and are available in many different file formats and extensions matching many of the most popular CAD software packages on the market.  First-time users will be required to create an account and a log in user name and password.

Contact Rollon Engineering at 1-877-976-5566 or TechSupport@rolloncorp.com  for immediate assistance if you experience any problems accessing the CAD models or drawings.



Picking the Right Actuator For Heavy Duty Packaging Applications

Rollon_WP_Packaging_185x250The task of selecting, sizing and applying linear actuators involves many variables, from stroke length and duty
cycle to precision and accuracy requirements. Ultimately, matching the right actuator to the intended application requires a close look at all of the specifications involved and then working within the project’s performance, time and budget constraints. Certain manufacturing operations are more rigorous than others, with end-of-line packaging applications among the most demanding when it comes to linear actuation. Activities such as palletizing, case packing, cartoning and lane diverting require strong and reliable motion components.

What does a design engineer or system integrator need to know when selecting actuators for these heavy-duty packaging operations? Here we take a detailed look at some of the most important aspects to consider.


Specifying Actuators For Clean Room Environments

Rollon_WP_CleanRooms_thumb_185x250Selecting the right actuator for use in any manufacturing operation involves many application-specific variables, including aspects such as the required stroke length, load capacity, acceleration, maximum speed and positioning repeatability. Add a clean room specification to the list
and the choice of available options becomes significantly smaller.

The following tips are intended to help design engineers determine the correct actuator for their next clean room application, a common task for those working in the medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing industries.



New Linear Actuators Certified For Use In Class 1 Clean Rooms

oneRollon’s ONE Series of belt-driven linear units, part of its new ActuatorLINE series, meet the needs of clean room and vacuum applications in demanding semiconductor, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and laboratory environments. Tested by the Fraunhofer Institute, all units are certified to ISO Class 3, according to ISO 14644-1, and designated Class 1, according to U.S. FED STD 209 E.

The ONE series is the first belt-driven linear unit capable of achieving ISO Class 3, with all units incorporating high quality reinforced polyurethane timing belts with an AT pitch. Specialized connection ports are featured on both the drive end and idle end of each unit, allowing easy connection of vacuum systems. Any particles generated on the inside of the units are removed by the vacuum system in a controlled and efficient manner. Low-abrasion and corrosion-resistant materials are used throughout the units, along with an advanced lubricant formulated specifically for use in clean room and vacuum environments.

A high strength aluminum profile houses superior quality mechanical components inside. All bearings, linear guides, shafts, pulleys, and other metallic parts are made of stainless steel. In instances where stainless steel cannot be used, surfaces are enhanced with a specialized treatment and tested under severe conditions. The linear guides used in each unit feature a unique spacing cage among the ball rolling elements for low maintenance and low particle generation.

ONE series highlights:

  • Speeds to 5 m/s (depending on unit size).
  • Maximum dynamic thrust load capacities from 480 to 2,400 N.
  • Stroke lengths from 100 to 6,000 mm (depending on unit size).
  • Maximum acceleration for all sizes to 50 m/s2.
  • Available in three sizes, body dimensions measure 50 x 50 mm, 80 x 80 mm and 110 x 110 mm.
  • Multi-axis systems may be constructed in a variety of configurations.

High Quality, Affordable Automation

Rollon’s ECO Series of linear units, part of the company’s new family of ActuatorLINE products, offer designers a range of stroke lengths, load capacities and shuttling speeds to meet a variety of application requirements in a cost-effective manner.

ECO units are made of anodized aluminum extrusions for high mechanical strength and low weight, plus a steel-reinforced polyurethane timing belt with an AT pitch parabolic profile for high-speed operation. Side slots enable easy mounting of accessories, such as proximity sensors.

ECO SP units feature a single ball bearing guide with high load capacity mounted in a dedicated seat on the inside of the aluminum body. The carriage is assembled on one or two preloaded ball bearing blocks, enabling it to withstand loading in the four main directions. Blocks feature seals on both ends, with an optional scraper available for especially dusty conditions.

ECO actuator highlights:

  • Speeds to 5 m/s (depending on unit size).
  • Acceleration to 50 m/s2.
  • Low friction and wear characteristics.
  • Body dimensions measure 60 x 60 mm, 80 x 80 mm and 100 x 100 mm.
  • Maximum dynamic axial load capacities range from 820 to 2,650 N, with stroke lengths from 100 to 6,000 mm (depending on unit size).
  • ECO series units, supplied with hollow shafts, support loads in any direction and may be installed in any position.

For applications where movement of two linear units in parallel is required, a synchronization kit is available for easy installation. Where multi-axis systems are desired, contact Rollon.

New Telescopic Rails For Aircraft Interiors Reduce Weight

In aircraft seating, every ounce counts. And as first and business seats grow more complex, it’s increasingly difficult to meet weight targets. Our new DE Series telescopic rails can help.

Weighing 30% less than our standard telescopic rails, the DE Series can support the movement of seat pans, footrests, armrests and pull-out tables on first and business class seats.

Our engineering team achieved this significant weight reduction by optimizing the rail profile thickness.  The optimization took out excess material from the rail while preserving the long lifecycle, limited deflection, smooth motion, compact form factor and load carrying capacity that characterize all our telescopic rails.

Long Life, Fully Loaded.  Thanks to our design optimization, the lightweight DE Series rails can still run for tens of thousands of cycles even under maximum load.  That maximum load is roughly 130 kg applied to the end of a fully extended rail.

Tolerates Misalignment. Like our standard telescopic rails, DE Series rails can self-align to their mounting surfaces. This capability allows the rails to tolerate deflection of their mating components without diminishing smooth operation.

To see the new DE Series in person, visit us at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, April 9-11, in Hamburg, Germany. We’re in Hall B6, Stand 6C37.

Avoid Actuator Overkill, Control Costs

When engineers design motion control systems, they sometimes commit a costly error known as actuator overkill. As its name suggests, this error involves the selection of actuators whose precision, speed, lifecycle or other technical capabilities exceed the true application requirements.

Actuator overkill can occur in many types of applications, but you often see it in pick-and-place systems. To be sure, some pick-and-place devices need every incremental bit of accuracy, precision, speed or lifecycle that a high-end actuator can deliver. Many pick-and-place devices, however, do not need the very best actuators. In these cases, selecting a middle-of-the-road actuator will help you get the most out of your motion control dollars.

Our ActuatorLINE™ E-Light Series is a case in point. In the right applications, this belt-driven actuator can cost as much as 30-40% less than our top-of-the-line ELM Series.

So what are the right applications for these cost-saving actuators?

When Light Is Right. ActuatorLINE E-Light excels in applications that can be satisfied with a lower level of precision and accuracy compared with a high-end actuator model—such as those in our ELM Series. For example, an ActuatorLINE E-Light model will have a repeatability of 100 µm versus 50 µm for a comparable ELM actuator. In applications such as a packaging pick-and-place device, this precision tradeoff will typically make no practical difference whatsoever.

The “light” in ActuatorLINE E-Light refers to the weight of the aluminum structural elements, not the load bearing capacity. So our Light Series handles the same loads as comparable ELM models. There is, however, a potential reduction in lifecycle under some speed and environmental conditions. Again, in many applications, the lifecycle tradeoff will not rule out the use of the more economical E-Light actuator.

ActuatorLINE E-Light also features some integration advantages that make it especially attractive
in custom machines. It supports:

  • Gearbox installation on either side of the unit and either end of the actuator.
  • Custom machining of carriage top plates.
  • Connection kits to create X-Y-Z Cartesian robots.
  • Adjustable end-of-travel sensors.

When Light Isn’t Right. ActuatorLINE E-Light isn’t for every application. You would expect to step up to ELM models or even our T-Series ballscrew actuators in applications needing the maximum precision or lifecycle rating. They include most electronics assembly applications as well as some precision machining operations.

Finally, our ELM models are the clear favorite in applications that require stringent cleanliness or contamination resistance. ELM actuators have contaminant protection, food grade lubrication and stainless steel shafts, bearings and component parts options that the E-Light Series lacks.

Still not sure whether your application can be successful with our ActuatorLINE E-Light Series or whether you need to take it up a notch in performance? Contact one of our technical service engineers for help.


Heavy-Duty Linear Actuators For Multi-Axis Jobs

Linear motion applications often involve heavy-duty, multi-axis manipulation of heavy loads at high speeds. A prime example would be palletizing equipment, but many applications have similarly intense motion requirements.

To meet the needs of these heavy-duty, multi-axis linear motion tasks, we’ve introduced the ROBOT Series of linear actuators. They feature:

Strong, Rigid Construction. ROBOT units are made of anodized aluminum extrusions for high mechanical strength and low weight. These sturdy actuators also include a steel-reinforced polyurethane timing belt with either an AT pitch or parabolic profile suited to high-speed operation.

A variety of setups are available to meet different application needs. ROBOT SP units feature two ball bearing guides mounted in two seats on the outer sides of the body. The carriage is assembled on four preloaded ball bearing blocks, enabling it to withstand loading in the four main directions. The ROBOT-2C Series features two carriages on the same unit, with the possibility of a fully independent drive.

Choice of Drive Systems. Depending on the end use, ROBOT units may be fitted with a variety of drive systems. The driving pulley is attached to the reduction gear shaft by a tapered coupling to ensure high accuracy and long life.

  • Standard models are available with clearances from 3 to 15 ft. and reduction ratios of 1:3 to 1:1,000
  • Versions with planetary gears are ideal for highly dynamic robotic, automation and material handling applications involving stress cycles and high-precision requirements
  • Versions with worm gears are perfect for applications involving low speeds and accelerations

Multi-Axis Motion. Some applications call for multiple-axis setups. In these cases, a specialized set of fittings with brackets and cross plates easily connects ROBOT units to each other and to SC and ELM units within the ActuatorLINE family.

Multiple Sizes. Demanding linear motion systems often require customized configurations, not a cookie-cutter approach. That’s why we offer the ROBOT Series in a range of sizes and load capacities. All ROBOT SP actuators offer speeds to 5 m/s, high load capacity and bending moments, low friction and a service life of 20,000 km without re-lubrication.

  • Body dimensions measure 55 x 100 mm, 70 x 130 mm, 90 x 160 mm and 100 x 220 mm
  • Maximum dynamic axial load capacities from 780 to 5,510 N
  • Stroke lengths from 100 to 6,000 mm
  • Actuators support loads in any direction and may be installed in any position

Vertical Applications Call For Specialized Linear Actuators

Setting up a dynamic, high-speed linear motion system is challenging enough. Flip it 90° to go vertical, and things get even trickier. In theory, linear actuators should work in any orientation. However, in real-world installations, cables can become tangled and moving parts can shift unexpectedly. To meet the specific needs of challenging vertical applications, we’ve introduced SC Series linear actuators as part of our new ActuatorLINE family.

SC units are built with anodized aluminum extrusions for high mechanical strength and low weight. The robust actuators also include a steel-reinforced polyurethane timing belt with either an AT pitch or parabolic profile suited to high-speed operation.

Streamlined Design. With the SC Series, tangled lifelines are a thing of the past. That’s because the drive is fitted directly onto the fixed carriage, eliminating cable movement, so the aluminum profile is the only moving part. In fact, the carriage itself houses the entire linear motion system, consisting of a drive pulley and two driven pulleys. Side slots enable quick and easy mounting of accessories, such as proximity switches, while power cables and air hoses may be passed inside the body. The carriage is assembled on four preloaded ball bearing blocks, enabling it to withstand loading in the four main directions.

Fast and Sturdy. Vertical applications such as those found in the robotics and material handling industries often demand punishing speeds. The SC Series is designed for just such environments. SC actuators offer speeds to 5 m/s, acceleration to 50 m/s2, high load capacity and bending moments, low friction and a maintenance-free lubrication system. For additional protection against contaminants, the carriage is fitted with specialized seals.

Range of Sizes. A one-size-fits-all approach is not very useful when it comes to challenging vertical applications. That’s why the SC models come in three sizes.

  • Body dimensions measure 65 x 65 mm, 70 x 130 mm and 90 x 160 mm
  • Maximum dynamic axial load capacities from 820 to 3,700 N
  • Stroke lengths from 100 to 2,500 mm
  • Actuators support loads in any direction and may be installed in any position

Drive System Flexibility. The drive system of choice will be determined by the specific application. The SC series is designed for ultimate versatility.

  • Standard models are available with clearances from 3 to 15 ft. and reduction ratios of 1:3 to 1:1,000
  • Versions with planetary gears are ideal for highly dynamic robotic, automation and material handling applications involving stress cycles and high-precision requirements
  • Versions with worm gears are perfect for applications involving low speeds and accelerations
  • SC linear units may also be equipped with simple or hollow shafts

Multi-Axis Motion. Certain applications call for multiple-axis setups. In these cases, a specialized set of fittings with brackets and cross plates connects SC units to each other and to ROBOT units within the ActuatorLINE family.

ELM Series Actuators Enable Fast, Quiet, Versatile Motion

Making its official debut at the IMTS Show in September, the ELM series of linear actuators is the first member of our new family of ActuatorLINE products. Tested and proven in the European market, versatile ActuatorLINE units are now available to North American engineers looking for more options in linear motion design.

Multiple Sizes Available. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect actuator and discovering it only comes in a few sizes, none of which fit for your application. The ELM series is available in several sizes, offering a range of stroke lengths, load capacities and speeds to meet a diverse range of application needs. Continue reading

TT Series Positioning Stages Deliver High-Precision Motion

From semiconductor manufacturing to machine tools, highly precise linear motion determines the success of many demanding applications. To address today’s needs for precise and accurate motion control, we announce the ActuatorLINE TT series of high-precision linear positioning stages. Available in a range of sizes and configurations, these hardworking stages are ideal for use in:

  • Robotic handling systems
  • Semiconductor equipment
  • X-Y-Z Cartesian robots
  • Machine tools
  • Automated assembly lines and more

Strong and Precise. Every aspect of the TT series linear positioning stages is designed with precision in mind. For starters, stages are made of anodized aluminum extrusions for high mechanical strength and low weight. To guarantee precise movement, bodies are CNC machined on all outer surfaces and where mechanical components are attached, such as ball bearing guides. Continue reading

New Actuators Complement Our Linear Guides

Rollon’s Actuatorline Debuts at IMTS in September.

Many an engineering hour has been spent cobbling together motion systems from individual components that may not have been designed or sized to work together properly. Our own engineers and our customers cope with these mismatched-components from multiple sources problem every day–but not for much longer.

Starting next month, we will offer a complete line of actuators to complement our linear guide offerings and transform Rollon USA into a systems supplier.

Continue reading

New Facilities, New Capabilities

101 Bilby Road, Hackettstown, NJAll of the engineers and technicians here at Rollon USA are big believers in continuous improvement. So when we had the opportunity to move to a superior manufacturing facility this year, we jumped at the chance.

At nearly 22,500 square feet, our new facility nearly doubles the amount of space we have at our disposal. We’ve put that extra real estate to good use, expanding and improving a variety of manufacturing operations. These include: Continue reading

Self-Aligning Linear Guides For Aircraft Seating

Lay flat seats make the skies friendlier with some help from the right linear guides

If you’ve been lucky enough to fly business or first class on an overseas trip, you may have noticed just how complex the seats have become from a linear motion standpoint. The most advanced seats now fold completely flat and offer numerous neck, back, and leg adjustments.

These super seats, which consist of up to 5,000 parts and cost more than $250,000 each, can incorporate as many as 8 different linear guides. A couple of technical key factors have emerged as the most important when selecting linear guides for seating applications. Continue reading

Rollon Linear Guides for the Train Industry

To keep the trains running on time, it makes sense to pay attention to the linear guides used throughout today’s railroad and mass transit cars.

Linear guides may not make an obvious contribution to the uptime of rolling stock, but they do play a crucial role in the operation of doors, access panels, seats and stowage systems. When linear guides fail, they can bring train to a halt as surely as a broken engine.

One way to avoid unnecessary failures is to pick reliable linear guides that are:

  • Corrosion resistant. Exterior doors and access panels, in particular, need to withstand corrosion and must pass rigorous salt-spray tests before even being considered for use in railway applications.
  • Contamination tolerant. Exposed or partially exposed linear guides have to tolerate a wide spectrum of human and environmental contaminants, including unusual ones such as hair.

Rollon supplies nine distinct linear guide styles to meet varying force, duty-cycle, integration and environmental requirements.


For a look at some strategies for fighting linear guide corrosion in railroad and mass transit applications, download our latest white paper.

Understanding Installation Differences

Compact Rail

Machine builders are sometimes reluctant to switch from one type of linear guide to another because of perceived installation differences. The truth is, though, that these differences tend to be minor and may even bring some unexpected benefits. For a case in point, consider what’s involved when switching from a ball-rail linear guide to Rollon’s Compact Rail.

The Compact Rail can replace any similarly sized ball-rail guide within the size, load and accuracy constraints described in the last post. Think of Compact Rail as a potential replacement for ball-rail guides.

Continue reading

Linear Guide Alternatives

Compact Rail

In all too many applications, engineers still pick linear guides based on familiarity rather than true accuracy, load and size requirements. And all too often, the most familiar linear guides are recirculating-ball styles with the longest lead times. Even a cursory needs analysis, however, will show that the majority of linear motion requirements can be easily met with advanced roller-style linear guides, such as Rollon’s Compact Rail.

Here are some specifics that can guide help you decide when an application needs can be satisfied with a lower-cost, readily available Compact Rail product–and when they can not: Continue reading

Avoiding Long Delivery Times

TelescopicNot all linear guides are created equal when it comes to delivery times. The highest-precision classes of linear guides usually have dramatically longer lead times, especially at lengths beyond 1240 mm.

For some axes of motion, the most precise guideways are indeed a necessity. But expensive precision products are routinely applied to axes that have less stringent motion requirements. Machine builders have in the past often specified one type of linear guide, usually a recirculating ball type, for use throughout the machine. This approach, while convenient, is no longer sensible or cost effective. Continue reading