Linear Technology for the Railway Industry

Linear Technology for the Railway Industry
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Linear Technology for the Railway Industry

This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 2 2023.

In mechanical engineering and in automation technology, the use of components from the field of linear technology is a common standard.

What is less known, however, is that these components also lead to improvements in many areas of railway technology both for railway vehicle technology as well as interiors.

But What Is Linear Technology?

The moving parts of a machine can perform rotary, linear or a combination of both movements. With the development of ball bearings 125 years ago, rolling contact became the standard method of supporting rotary motion. This led to a technical revolution. The rolling contact not only reduced the kinetic energy required, but also reduced the frictional resistance to a minimum and thus drastically increased the performance of the machines. Although a similar development in linear motion would have been very valuable, it took many years for linear motion through rolling contact to become a reality.

The Japanese company THK eliminated the hitherto unsolvable problem of linear guides with rolling contact and, in 1972, was the first company in the world to develop and market linear guides.

The new linear guide systems enabled significant improvements in accuracy and speed and delivered labour savings on demanding mechatronic machines, like machine tools, industrial robots or semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

The following product examples are offered today by THK, the pioneer of linear technology:

Curved Guides for Tilting Train Bogeys

Curved or R-guides are a unique development by THK that transfers the concept of the linear guide to a curved rail enabling highly precise circular movement. Capable of receiving high load from all directions, curved guides are an ideal product to guide the tilting movement of pendulum trains. By arranging linear motion blocks on the load points, efficient structural design is achieved.

Different radii and sizes are available up to a diameter of 12m, allowing freedom of design as well as easy assembly.

Download the full PDF here.

Other THK GmbH Documents

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