Linear actuators ensure high repeat accuracy on ground printing machines

Due to rapid developments in automation, assembly, machine tools and other special purpose production machinery, machine designers and builders require complete driven linear assemblies, which help optimise performance of the machine and minimise development costs and lead times.

Schaeffler (UK) Ltd offers a range of driven linear units, including belt- and ballscrew-driven linear actuators, linear tables, control systems, servomotors, motorised gearboxes, fasteners, connectors and mounting brackets.

Driven linear units – which typically incorporate high precision linear guidance systems, rigid support rails, servomotor drives, gearboxes and control systems – must be compact, high performance, modular systems to suit a wide range of applications.

Linear Actuators on Ground Printing Machines
In one novel customer application, Schaeffler’s linear actuators are being used on ground printing machines to provide high repeat accuracy and to ensure high inherent rigidity of the support rail.
German company Jochum Technology GmbH designs and manufactures a range of special purpose ground printing machines used in large format printing applications.

The machines are used to print advertising logos on soft and hard surfaces, including grass (sports stadium pitches), roads, carpet, film, truck tarpaulin sheets and frame coverings. The machines function in a similar way to inkjet printers, printing in multi-colour in a variety of media such as sprays or powders. The linear guidance system for the machine may also need to withstand other media such as water and fertiliser.

The ground printing machines use Schaeffler’s MLF125-ZR linear actuator with enclosed track roller guidance system and toothed belt drive. This compact linear drive unit provides high repeat accuracy, low maintenance and high inherent rigidity of the support rail. Acceleration is up to 20m/s2. Speed is up to 4m/s and the stroke length of the linear guidance system is 1,700mm.

Schaeffler offers a comprehensive range of linear guidance systems that are based on the company’s linear ball bearing and guideway assemblies or track roller guidance systems. These are driven by either a ballscrew or by one of three different toothed belts.

Flexibility to match the customer’s requirements is important for machine builders. Schaeffler is able to provide linear products that match these requirements, as well as expert advice and guidance from the machine design stage right through to initial operation.

With linear actuators, high inherent rigidity of the support rail is critical for many machine builds. Other requirements and design considerations for the machine builder may include: high load and moment carrying capacity of the linear guidance system; high axial load carrying capacity; high rigidity; dynamics of the drive system; low moving mass; long operating life; and low maintenance requirements.

John Loonam, Linear Product Specialist at Schaeffler UK comments: “We offer a comprehensive range of linear guidance systems, actuators, drives and controls for every type of application. Schaeffler’s linear actuator series, for example, now includes a four-row compact module, a six-row tandem actuator, as well as all the fasteners, connectors and mounting brackets that customers require to build and install a complete driven linear system. In addition, our ball monorail guidance systems can be supplied with new corrosion resistant coatings and materials for harsh operating environments such as food and beverage production machines and machine tools.”

Schaeffler driven linear units can also be found in precision assembly and handling machines, clean rooms, transfer systems, electronics manufacturing, packaging machines, medical equipment and precision measuring machines.

For moving larger masses in one or multiple axes, Schaeffler offers linear tables or stages, which due to the large distances between support points, are capable of supporting high torques. The guidance systems in these stages are based on linear ball bearings or on linear ball bearing and guideway assemblies. Linear stages are available with ballscrew drives or trapezoidal lead screws.

For more information, please visit or telephone the marketing department on 0121 351 3833 and ask for a copy of “Driven Linear Units” (ref: ALE).

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