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Zach Olsen

Comparing Linear Slide Designs: UGA vs Component Assembly

October 21, 2010 - Rockford, IL  -  Posted by Zach Olson

Uni-Guide vs Component Guide ComparisonIn linear motion design cost is always an issue, but there are many other more important factors to consider when seeking a new motion control solution. Assembly, performance and reliability all play their key roles. For PBC Linear’s newest product, the low profile Uni-Guide (UGA), the design team developed the product based around these criteria and the needs of the market.

When comparing assembly parts, the simple design of the UGA has some advantages over a component based system. The UGA is a pre-engineered assembly. Its simple two-piece (rail and carriage) design is machined to fit together without bulky add-on parts or additional fasteners. Competing low profile linear slide products use multiple pieces (runner blocks, assembly plates and fasteners) to make up the carriage. These parts are difficult to install and accurately align and frequently require testing and re-alignment checks before completed. The UGA is machined as one piece through PBC Linear’s patented SIMO® process. The rail is also machined as one piece with parallel extruded edges running along the sides—facilitating precise alignment and smooth travel.

Download the Low Profile Uni-Guide vs
Component Slide Comparison Sheet

The proof, however, is in the performance. How well does each product do in an application? As previously mentioned, the UGA is completely SIMO® machined to ensure top performance specifications throughout the length of the rail to tolerances within (±0.001’’/0.025mm)—facilitating accurate alignment and integration. Competing products are only as accurate as they are assembled. During the installation process, if these products are not aligned and assembled carefully, it could result in mis aligned rails/carriage; which directly affects travel and accuracy. This leads to poor performance of the slide.

How reliable is each system? This question usually depends upon several factors coinciding with the application. Certain tasks allow each product to perform better. In food processing, for example, the angular design of the UGA enhances wash-down compatibility and prevents chemical pooling or bacterial build-up. The UGA also uses PBC Linear’s proprietary plane bearing technology to glide without additional lubrication along the track; which allows the UGA to thrive in a wide variety of conditions (extreme temperatures, clean-reliant tasks, heavy contaminant applications) and perform well for positioning, transfer or adjustment tasks. Component based systems feature numerous crevices and cavities for material to be trapped. Also, depending on the form of bearing technology, the system could require regular maintenance upkeep that the UGA does not.

Low Profile Uni-Guide VideoCost is the final factor. How much will it cost the customer in the long run? Typically customers pay a higher sale price for components based systems (example assembly sale price: $85.00). Plus they have to pay for assembly and alignment; which takes more than double the time than installing a UGA slide. Bottom-line, when comparing the total installed cost for each product (UGA: $89.50 and Component-based slide: $145.50). This saves the customer 30% on cost. Therefore, when considering assembly, performance, reliability and cost, the pre-engineered UGA comes out ahead of the competition.

Watch the Low Profile Uni-Guide Video >

To learn more, download our newly available UGA vs. Modular assembly comparison sheet, or you contact an application engineer at 1.888.777.0556.



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