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TBS is using Matara’s linear-guideway products in its lead-acid battery-assembly machines to accurately position the battery components and move the batteries through the machine.

TBS’s machines are used by most OEM suppliers to the major car producers; and most of the world’s medium-to-large UPS systems contain SLA and VRLA cells produced with TBS machinery.

To satisfy the demands of this large and diverse customer base, TBS offers a range of machines, all of which incorporate a high level of automation to maximise throughput while minimising the requirement for costly operator attention.

A good example is the company’s latest COS10 cast-on-strap machine, which needs only one supervisor, yet produces automotive batteries at the rate of nine per minute.

The COS10 also incorporates many motorised adjustments to minimise the time needed for changeovers between different types of batteries.

Achieving the level of automation needed in high-productivity machines of this type frequently involves the use of linear-motion systems for such functions as accurately positioning the battery components ready for assembly, and moving the batteries through the machine.

Lead-acid batteries are, however, not known for their lightness, and the same is true of the plates and other components used in their manufacture.

In many instances, the linear-motion systems in the TBS machines are, therefore, required to handle large loads.

They also have to transport these loads over appreciable distances – it is by no means unusual for motion systems to be needed for moving loads of one tonne over a distance of two metres or more.

TBS found that PMI linear-guideway products from Matara were versatile, efficient and affordable.

Based on precision-machined guide rails and carriages that run on re-circulating steel balls, the PMI guideways from Matara offer many advantages over conventional linear-motion products.

They offer low friction, for example, which means that only a small driving force is needed, and they maintain accuracy over long periods, with minimal maintenance.

Of particular importance to TBS is their high rigidity and four-way load capability – they can handle radial and reversed radial loads, as well as loads in the two lateral directions, which makes them versatile and easy to incorporate into the company’s designs.

For linear-motion applications that involve smaller loads and less demanding requirements, TBS is using another range of products from Matara – precision ground and rolled ballscrews.

These Matara products feature balls that rotate inside the ballscrew nut, to achieve low friction and high efficiency, and as result they need only one-third of the driving torque of conventional ballscrews.

The ballscrews used by TBS are machined to the company’s exact requirements at Matara’s UK factory in Cheltenham.

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