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Are you using the right linear guide for your projects?

Recirculating ball guides or rails with bearings? The answer obviously depends on the application and the advantages that the two products can offer.

Recirculating ball guides are certainly the most common type of linear rails, and are used in a wide range of applications. The technology that they use offers important advantages in terms of load capacity, precision and moment control. However, in some conditions and applications, their strong points can become limits. In these cases, it is preferable to opt for different solutions, such as Compact Rail from Rollon: linear guides with bearings and induction hardened and ground raceways. These rails are fast, quiet and able to handle significant misalignments in parallelisms and flatness, available in different profiles and with different anti-corrosion treatments.

Managing misalignments

Recirculating ball guides are high precision products, and their capacity for managing heavy loads in all directions is also high. However, to obtain these results, these rails must be mounted with a degree of parallelism and flatness precision expressed in tenths of millimeters.

Therefore, when working on structures that are not particularly precise and/or rigid, several steps which involve additional costs and time become necessary, such as machining of the base surfaces and long, complicated mounting operations.

In these cases, Compact Rail linear guides can be a decisively effective solution and reduce the final construction costs considerably.

Profili Compact Rail K U T 

The bearings and different profile shapes in cold drawn steel ensure that Compact Rail products can compensate for the axial movement of a slider in a pair of rails of up to 4 mm, while a possible error in parallelism on two planes is managed by a rotation of the slider of up to a 2° angle.

gestione del disallineamento con Compact Rail 

It is easy to see what kind of savings can be obtained by using Compact Rail products, when compared to what assemblies and processes using rails with recirculating ball bearings would involve for applications like machining center doors, or any type of application where rails are mounted on non-machined surfaces.

Operating in difficult environments

The use of several spheres with very small diameters in the recirculating ball guides makes it possible to create a high number of contact points between the block and the rail. This means that these rails can manage very heavy loads quite simply, a feature that makes them the best choice in a wide range of applications.

However, when the environment where the rails are located is not perfectly clean, the presence of debris and impurities can become an insurmountable obstacle for this type of rail: the tiny spheres fit close together and cannot slide easily, the protective screens on the block do not provide sufficient protection, and the block stops working properly and locks up.

On the other hand, Compact Rail products have raceway cleaners on both sides of the slider, which use bearings with diameters that vary from 50 mm for size 63 to 14 mm for the smallest size, 18. Obviously, sliding elements of these dimensions are able to work efficiently even with impurities and other types of contaminants, which are critical for tiny spheres.

guida a cuscinetti compact rail 

Impurities are not the only source of problems in linear motion solutions. Another substantial threat to a wide range of applications is corrosion. Thinking about the industrial machinery sector, many applications are installed in humid environments or in contact with refrigerant liquids. And again, all those outdoor applications ranging from doors and platforms of special vehicles to train underfloors and any other type of equipment destined for use outdoors. Moreover, corrosion also threatens components of applications in contact with strong acids or bases, aggressive detergents or even very frequent washes, such as machines and automation systems for the food, pharmaceutical or medical industries.

To provide solutions for these types of needs, Rollon has designed different surface treatments for Compact Rail products. The default treatment of these rails is an ISO 2081 compliant electro-galvanizing anti-corrosion process. For more demanding needs the RollonAloy treatment, tested for up to 720 hours in saline mist in compliance with the ISO 9227 standard, or the nickel-plated version, with FDA approval for use in the food industry, are also available.

Quite operation

More often than ever, production and industrial environments are the first to demand silent handling systems. It is a fundamental requirement for compliance with noise control regulations and to guarantee a healthy, functional workplace. There are also sectors, for instance medical and hospital based applications, where the most important requirement (after quality sliding capacity) is to avoid creating disturbances of any nature for users or patients. Why is Compact Rail the ideal solution in these cases? Because using large sliding elements, such as ball bearings, combined with ground raceways, guarantees unique silent movement and maximum fluidity.


Very often, a particular need connected with configuring the linear rail or a dedicated surface treatment can create long waiting times and high costs. Compact Rail linear guides, on the other end, thanks to Rollon's manufacturing process, the modularity of the solution in terms of the product and the level of flexibility that the corporate structure can guarantee, offer high customization margins, with the goal of meeting specific client needs.


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copertina catalogo compact rail

diameters that vary from 50 mm for size 63 to 14 mm…