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High-speed axis features roller bearings for higher performance

High-speed axis features roller bearings for higher performance Festo is introducing a new cost-effective belt-driven ELGA-RF linear axis with increased speed and load capacities thanks to the use of roller bearings in place of ball bearings. The compact axis enables machine builders and engineers to increase their machine throughput and efficiencies, while benefiting from low maintenance and reduced operational costs.

The ELGA-RF has robust roller bearings, which enables it to move at a higher speed of up to 10m/s compared with alternative belt drives that use ball bearing guides. It can also handle almost double the payload capacity of previous roller bearings. As a result, users can position heavier loads faster and more accurately. The drive is robust and suitable for use in harsh operating conditions. For example, it incorporates a corrosion-resistant stainless steel cover strip, making it suitable for use in dusty environments, and a magnetic attachment ensures the strip protects the bearings and belt even when inverted.

Festo's ELGA-RF axis is available in three sizes (70, 80 and 120mm) and with stroke lengths from 50mm up to 7400mm. It includes oil-impregnated felt to ensure a maintenance-free lifetime of over five million metres of travel. This reduces maintenance costs and downtime, therefore enabling the user to increase efficiencies.

The sturdy ELGA-RF has been designed with a low, flat profile and the bearings are spaced wide apart, meaning it can accurately handle and position loads of up to 160kg - which is an increase of 100kg over what was possible with the previous model with ball bearings - all without taking up additional space on the machine.

Motor mounting is simple, space-saving and versatile, as the motor can be mounted at any of the four 'corners'. The ELGA-RF features a lightweight aluminium carriage, providing low inertia. However, helicoils are pre-installed in all mounting threads to ensure the fastenings remain secure, even when high loads are involved. All of Festo's drives have precision mating features on all mounting faces to ensure excellent accuracy during assembly and to reduce shear stresses in the fasteners.

Nigel Dawson, Product Manager for electric drives at Festo, says: "Ball bearing guides provide reliable and robust linear movement; however, they have limited speed. Now with Festo's roller bearing ELGA-RF, machine builders can achieve higher speeds of up to 10m/s, and at no extra cost. Delivered ready-to-install, the ELGA-RF is easy to use and fit, making it is suitable for handling, feeding and conveying automation applications in the electronics and packaging industries."

The ELGA-RF linear drives are simple to size and order using Festo's free Positioning Drives software. The software can be downloaded from Festo's website and users enter their requirements, such as load and stroke length to size electric drives, motors and gearboxes easily and efficiently. Axes are built and delivered ready to install in 7-10 working days.

Festo's new axis is part of the company's family of ELGA linear drives, which are available as individual axes, complete kits consisting of axis, motor controller and systems for multi-axis setups, or as complete systems involving assemblies and control panel packages.

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