What is a Linear Slide?
Linear slides are positioning systems consisting of a moving platform and a stage base (mostly made of aluminum or stainless steel), usually with linear ball bearings or crossed-roller bearings. They are used in motion and positioning applications and provide one degree of freedom (linear motion)
For precision positioning applications, motorized slides are used. PI provides a large variety of innovative linear slide motion systems with a variety of motor concepts from stepper motors to servo motors and piezoelectric linear motors.
In addition to lead-screw drives and anti-backlash ball-screw drives, we also offer voice-coil actuator-driven systems and high-resolution linear stages with 3-phase linear motors for high speed linear motion and scanning.
Motorized linear slides typically provide resolutions from 1 micron to 10 nanometers. Some systems can achieve even higher precision. Travel ranges are in the 5mm to 1000mm range.
Guiding Systems and their Influence on Accuracy and Speed
Different linear guides are used. For accurate positioning applications, linear guides with crossed-rollers or ball bearings are used most often. The highest accuracy linear slides use air bearing linear guides or magnetic bearings. These guiding systems also allow the design of high-speed linear slides. The lower the friction, the higher the velocity and reliability that can be achieved, especially in 24/7 automation applications. The simplest form of linear guide is called a dovetail slide, however, it is mostly only useful in quasi-static applications. For high-load applications, or in high-performance 3D printers and precision laser micro-machining, crossed-roller guides or recirculating ball rails are common.
If ultra-high accuracy and more precision than achievable from a servo or stepper moto slide is required, PI also provides a wide selection of piezoelectric flexure guided nanopositioning slides (flexures have no rolling or sliding elements) to meet the highest precision demands in motion control, as required in semiconductor, photonics, and super-resolution fields.
Motorized Slides in XY and XYZ Combinations
Our motorized linear slides can be mounted in XY and XYZ configurations for multi-axis linear motion. For flexibility and cost efficiency, the new L-836 stepper motor linear slides should be considered. If higher levels of integration for industrial automation are required, gantry stage systems are the next step up.
Benefits of working with PI: Access to the broadest and deepest portfolio of precision motion technologies in the world; engineers who understand your applications and match it to the appropriate motion technology, be it a stepper motor driven lead screw system or a compact piezo linear motor drive. Contact our engineers if you need help selecting the right motorized slide for your project. More information on the difference between linear stage, linear slide, and linear table»