Understanding linear bearing speed and acceleration
Speed does play a role in bearing life, but is rarely the limiting performance factor in today’s motion applications. Standard linear bearings can handle speeds of 3 m/s without any difficulty, while high-performance models can reach 5 m/s. The majority of automation applications, meanwhile, run at top speeds well under 5 m/s.
When control engineers do overtax a linear bearing, excess velocity is rarely the culprit. More typically, the engineer has pushed the system past its ability to handle acceleration, deceleration or vibration forces. These forces can be limited when programming a motion profile, but only if the profile realistically relates to the bearing’s mechanical limitations. Preloading the bearing, which is purely a mechanical process, can help too.
Some systems have their preloads determined by their factory set-up, while other bearing styles allow simple preload adjustments in the field.