Simplifying motion systems

Kerk Motion Products has released the updated ScrewRail, which combines drive and support/guidance components in a single, compact, coaxial design to save space and reduce costs.

Kerk’s patented ScrewRail is currently being used in applications for a number of industries, including medical, data storage, semiconductor, industrial machinery, printing/plotting and general automation.

By eliminating the need for external rail-to-screw alignment, the ScrewRail is said to simplify the design, manufacture and assembly of motion systems.

The ScrewRail’s coaxial design saves as much as 80% of the space used by a two-rail system and reduces cost because it is less expensive than purchasing the equivalent components separately. Similarly, it contains lower-cost support components; and it dramatically reduces labour content.

The ScrewRail comprises a precision rolled lead screw, supported by sealed bearings and contained within a concentric steel guide rail that drives an integrated nut/bushing. Because all alignment requirements are achieved within the ScrewRail, support and positioning is much less critical than with traditional slide assemblies.

TFE coating and self-lubricating nut/bushing materials are said to ensure long life without maintenance. The ScrewRail has recently been upgraded with a metal-reinforced bushing, providing increased strength and stability.

Kerk’s ScrewRail is unique in that a single coaxial system enables three-dimensional motion. When mounted vertically, the ScrewRail can be used to simultaneously lift and rotate (Z-theta motion). A compact, self-supporting pick and place mechanism can be built with one motor driving the screw and a second rotating the rail.

The ScrewRail is available in outside diameters of .5, .75, and 1 inches, with leads ranging from .050 inches to 1.5 inches, and can be manufactured in lengths up to 10 feet. Depending on the configuration, ScrewRails are able to support loads up to several hundred pounds.