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Linear Guides Suit Automotive Applications

A new range of linear slides and guides has been launched by THK, the world’s largest dedicated developer and manufacturer of linear motion technology, for use in on- and off-road vehicles. Designed to help improve operating efficiencies and reduce the cost of ownership, while offering greater functionality, performance and safety than existing devices, the new linear products have the potential to be used in a wide range of transport systems, ranging from tail lift and trailer mechanisms, to earth moving plant and servicing and maintenance equipment. The new generation of products includes a range of robust ballscrews, for more rugged applications, and heavy duty THK linear guides.

In particular, the SNR and SNS linear guides have been introduced to provide a platform on which vehicle manufacturers and system builders can construct high quality, high performance linear motion and control mechanisms.

The SNR and SNS linear guides incorporate THK’s proven and industry-leading Caged Ball technology.

Compared with conventional methods of moving the slide carriage on the slide rail, THK linear guides give extremely smooth, high speed and maintenance free operation, yet provides an exceptional level of strength and rigidity to enable equipment systems to be positioned accurately, time after time, with a long operating life that is typically in excess of 40,000km.

Indeed, so effective is the Caged Ball system that when compared with traditional devices, rolling resistance is reduced by up to 90% and noise levels by more than 50%, with corresponding reductions in heat and friction.

Perhaps as importantly, the latest linear motion guides are capable of transporting exceptionally heavy loads, with the SNS in particular being rated up to 5530kN, are available in six heavy-duty models and six ultra-heavy-duty models, in a wide variety of stroke lengths.

For specialized on- and off-road and workshop systems, THK has also introduced a range of high performance HBN ballscrews that, size for size, are capable both of transporting over twice the average dynamic load of competing devices and of producing double the typical maximum nut speed (the DN value).

With load capacities of up to 3,390kN and operating speeds of up to 130,000DN, the HBN is especially suitable for applications that demand high-speed precision movement of larger loads.

The HBN again features THK’s Caged Ball technology together with a high-speed ball return system that eliminates ball-to-ball contact and ensures that all lubricants are retained; as a result, operation is smooth, silent and virtually maintenance free, minimizing frictional losses and helping to cut energy consumption by as much as 33%.

A range of accessories are available to enhance the performance of the latest linear motion devices, including the QZ lubrication system, that gives significantly extended maintenance intervals with reduced usage of lubricants, and contact scrapers for applications where an additional level of contamination control and protection is required.

Linear Actuators Come in Smaller Sizes

THK has added two new models to its proven range of high performance linear actuators. The latest versions of the SKR are now available in smaller sizes, of 20 and 26mm, and form part of a product family that is designed to combine exceptional levels of rigidity, accuracy and reliability in compact, virtually zero maintenance units. The new SKR linear actuators incorporate THK’s patented caged ball technology.

This improves overall performance, while reducing levels of friction, heat and noise to an absolute minimum.

In addition, the use of caged ball technology significantly enhances both positional accuracy, to within 0.02mm, and positional repeatability, to +/-0.003mm, while allowing loads to be moved or transferred smoothly and at high speeds.

Designed for use throughout industry, the new compact SKR models consist of a U-shaped guide rail, within which four THK linear motion raceways plus a single ballscrew are mounted.

The guides and ballscrew are then used to control a single load bearing block or carriage assembly, which spans the width of the guide rail.

This construction is exceptionally tough and rigid and allows the device to be preloaded if required.

In addition, the load-bearing ball races on the guide are arranged in such a way that the capacity load is uniform in four directions (radial, reverse-radial, and lateral).

As a result, the SKR linear actuator can be used in any mounting orientation and for applications where the applied load extends beyond the body of the actuator.

This makes the new SKR devices particularly suitable for use in areas where the loading direction varies, such as in the motion of Cartesian-co-ordinate robot arms.

The new SKR linear motion guides are available in four versions, with a choice of single, double, short or long load bearing blocks.

A range of accessories is also available to further enhance the performance of the SKR and includes THK’s QZ lubrication system, which extends maintenance intervals still further.

High-Performance Linear Actuators

Linear actuators from THK are being used in an innovative new coordinate measuring system to provide exceptionally high levels of accuracy, with a measuring frequency of 1kHz and a resolution that is less than 30nm, and a maintenance-free operating life of up to ten years. The VC-10 coordinate measuring machine is designed and built by the German company, Optacom, and have been developed for use in a wide range of industries, from aerospace and motorsport to electronics and medical devices, where high levels of precision are required for both one-off and volume production parts. The VC-10 measuring machine has two precision linear axis, in the X and Z directions, offers a large measuring area of 170 x 175mm and self-calibrates in under three minutes.

In addition, the system is the first of its kind to feature a fully automatic contour recognition system, making analysis much faster, reliable and precise than was previously possible.

Key to the success of the new VC-10 is the use of THK’s advanced linear motion control technology, with the company’s latest SKR linear actuators being used in both axes to provide exceptionally high levels of resolution and repeatability.

SKR linear motion actuators offer a unique combination of rigidity, accuracy and reliability in compact, maintenance-free units.

This is achieved through the use of THK’s patented Caged Ball technology, which is incorporated within each actuator to improve overall performance, with the load-bearing ball races being arranged in such a way that the capacity load is spread uniformly in the radial, reverse-radial and lateral directions.

Perhaps most importantly, the use of Caged Ball technology reduces levels of friction, heat and noise to an absolute minimum, significantly enhances both positional accuracy, to within +/-0.02mm, and positional repeatability, to +/-0.003mm, while allowing the coordinate measuring probes to be moved smoothly at high speeds.

For Optacom a further important factor in the choice of THK linear motion control technology was the durability of the SKR guides, which have to last without maintenance for the projected 10 year lifetime of each machine.

Additionally, Optacom needed a supplier that could ensure product availability worldwide, so that even if a guide did develop a fault it could be replaced locally in the minimum of time.

Diana Erhard, Manager at Optacom, explains, ‘Although we have developed a highly sophisticated coordinate measuring system, which is reliable, easy to use and cost effective, we depend on the performance of the THK products to provide the levels of accuracy and repeatability that our customers require’.

‘The SKR guides also give us the advantage of extremely smooth, fluid movements and a long operating life without the need for maintenance’.

Scraper keeps linear guides running smoothly

A new version of the THK Laminated Contact Scraper is designed to extend the operating life of linear guides, especially in applications where there is a high degree of contamination. Called the Side Scraper, the new device effectively protects THK linear guides by removing dirt, oil, liquids and various debris regardless of the mounting orientation. Contaminated operating environments with high levels of airborne dust or particles, such as in flour mills, or where debris including shavings, swarf or weld spatter fall on guide rails, can significantly reduce the operating efficiency and life of THK linear motion systems.

In particular, foreign matter on the rail can be drawn into the carriage or block assembly causing wear and, in the worst case, premature failure of the ball race or ball cage mechanisms.

The latest scraper system prevents these problems occurring by creating a combined barrier and scraper unit at either end and along the sides of the carriage.

The end sections comprise a triple layer scraper assembly, with an inner seal, a specially constructed composite layer for removing particulate matter and smaller debris, and a metal outer layer to remove larger material.

The Side Scraper and seal assemblies essentially perform the same function as the end units and prevent particles entering the carriage or ball cage mechanisms when the guide is mounted vertically or is inverted, or where the operating environment contains a high level of particles suspended in the atmosphere.

This latest Side Scraper system can also be supplied with THK’s QZ lubrication unit, to extend operating life still further through continuous lubrication of the carriage and rail components.

Typical applications include machinery for construction, including both quarrying and cement manufacture, equipment for heavy engineering and systems for a wide range of process environments.

THK’s Hebron Ohio Facility Expanding For New Line

HEBRON — While many automotive-related companies are laying off employees and outsourcing abroad, a Hebron facility is doing the opposite.
THK Manufacturing of America’s $2 million expansion will house the company’s new line of automotive castings, originally produced in Japan, said David Garbark, THK’s facilities and environmental engineer.

He said the 12,000-square-foot expansion, which is expected to be completed in June, also brings the possibility of up to 20 new hires.
Garbark acknowledged the company’s recent actions, especially choosing to bring production to the United States, was atypical.

“Our on-time delivery is a priority,” he said. “Parts are going to be ready in a few days versus months.”

Garbark said the castings also are cheaper to produce at the 471 N. High St. facility than in Japan.

The Hebron THK facility, which began production in 1998, is the company’s only site where the castings used in automobiles, trucks, SUVs, tractors and golf carts are produced, he said.

“We’re going to start off with a total of two machines, and then go up to six die-cast machines,” Garbark said.

He said future expansion is a possibility, especially because the site has plenty of open land.
In the past seven years, the facility has increased from 100 employees to more than 350, Garbark said.

“We’re growing like a weed,” he said. “We’re constantly adding people.”

The facility received a 100 percent, 12-year tax abatement on real property taxes, said Andie Myers, community development coordinator for Hebron. She said the THK facility is within the village’s community investment area.

Technico, Inc. is a renowned THK distributor in the industry. For more information about THK products, browse our website or contact us today.

THK’s U.S. Production Facility (TMA) Earns AMT Eligibility

Schaumburg, IL – (February 16, 2007) THK Manufacturing of America Inc. (TMA), (Hebron, Ohio) has earned prestigious Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) member status. THK’s U.S. manufacturing facility also celebrates its 10th anniversary of manufacturing high-quality THK products in the U.S.

THK, through its manufacturing of actuators and related products, met the AMT’s requirement of producing a product line consisting of power-driven manufacturing machinery used in the process of transforming man-made materials into discrete durable goods. Additional eligibility conditions included selling and producing these products within the United States for a minimum of one year. THK was also required to demonstrate that the foreign content in these qualifying products does not exceed 35 percent of the qualifying product’s total U.S revenue.

THK Manufacturing of America, Inc., the company’s first production facility in the United States, manufactures both conventional and Caged Ball(TM) Linear Motion Guides (LM Systems) and actuators, as well as Link Balls.

THK Linear Motion Guides are precise positioning components with re-circulating ball linear motion guide technology that uses a block and precision ground rail design. THK LM Systems offer many application-specific benefits, including: increased speed and accuracy of motion, high rigidity, decreased noise levels, long-term maintenance-free operation, and reduced sources of contamination. A wide variety of industries are currently taking advantage of the benefits of THK’s LM Systems, including: machine tool, semiconductor, medical, packaging, automotive and robotics.

THK’s Link Balls consist of a high-accuracy, high-quality steel ball with a welded shank assembled to a die-cast socket holder. They are used in suspension, steering and transmission control assemblies for automobiles and other forms of transportation.

The Ohio based plant offers a variety of LM Guide types and sizes. Currently, 50% of the company’s product line for North America is manufactured in the Hebron plant. That number is soon expected to climb to 80%.

Signifying their commitment to quality, THK Manufacturing of America, Inc. has received both QS9000 certification and Ford Q1. This environmentally friendly facility is even equipped with a centralized machine coolant recycling system.

Technico Inc supplies distribution, sales, engineering, cut to length, modifications and warehousing services for THK products. THK also has nine regional sales offices in North America located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Mexico, New Jersey, San Francisco, and Toronto to further their commitment to customer service. Each has application engineers and experienced customer service representatives to meet customers’ needs.

THK Develops Linear Motion Guide Accuracy Standards

September 5, 2006 – To meet a wide range of application requirements, THK has developed new accuracy standards. The accuracy grades created by THK in 1973 have been adopted as the Global Standard. After 30 years, THK’s manufacturing capability has improved the accuracy standards of LM Guides. In addition to revising specifications, THK has added two new accuracy standards (Ct7 and Ct5) to accommodate a wider range of application requirements. THK accuracy grades range from sub-micron to normal.

The accuracy of an LM Guide is specified in terms of running parallelism, dimensional tolerance of height and width and the height and width difference between a pair of LM guides (when 2 or more LM blocks are used on one rail or when 2 or more rails are mounted on the same plane). Running parallelism indicates the tolerance for parallelism between the LM block and the LM rail reference surfaces when the LM block travels the whole length of the LM rail secured on the reference surface using bolts.

THK’s new accuracy standards apply to a variety of caged ball and caged roller LM guides, as well as standard LM guides, from the THK line.

THK manufacturers the widest range of linear motion products including conventional LM guides, ball screws, mechanical actuators and ball splines and more. All THK products have been designed and manufactured to meet the strictest requirements. THK’s experienced Global Engineering Team can provide customized linear motion solutions with our standard linear motion products as well as our mechatronics products for your most demanding applications.

THK Celebrates 25 Years of Linear Motion Excellence in America

Schaumburg, IL – (June 12, 2006) Mr. Junichi Kuwabara, President of THK America, Inc., is proud to announce that on June 2, 2006 THK America, Inc., a subsidiary company of THK Co., Ltd. Japan, will celebrate twenty-five years of successful business operations and dynamic growth in North America. Mr. Kuwabara expresses his deep appreciation to all of THK’s valued customers and business associates who have made this achievement and growth possible. THK’s uncompromising commitment to reaching a higher standard provides our customers confidence in the reliability and quality offered in THK’s linear motion solutions.

THK, the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of Linear Motion products, has advanced American operations from its three man beginning in 1981 to over five hundred people in the Illinois Sales and Service Headquarters and the Columbus Ohio manufacturing center.

THK’s vast technical expertise is offered to customers throughout North America through direct sales, engineering, and customer support offices in every major industrial market throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, along with its valued distribution partners.

The anniversary date will be marked by a private company celebration. The senior management staff of THK America, Japan, and Europe will be present to recognize the achievements and outline the aggressive “Ten Nijuichi” program that will further excel the organization to more than three times its present size by 2010.

THK manufacturers the widest range of linear motion products including conventional LM guides, ball screws, mechanical actuators and ball splines. All THK products have been designed and manufactured to meet the strictest requirements.

THK & Yaskawa Form A Strategic Alliance To Offer A New Generation Of Complete Motion Control Packages with VLA Actuators

Schaumburg, IL – (November 7, 2005) THK America, Inc., the global leader in mechanical motion solutions announces a new generation of complete motion control packages by forming a strategic alliance with Yaskawa Electric, the world’s largest producer of variable speed drives, servo controls and robotics.

This new complete motion control package is the perfect fusion of THK’s new high performance, low-cost VLA series of linear actuators with Yaskawa’s Legend Servo Amp & Controller and Sigma II servomotors. This integrated, out-of-the-box motion control solution provides uncompromising performance and value for the North American factory automation marketplace. William Terry, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, THK stated, “This alliance represents the best in mechanical products coupled with the best in electrical motion products with a “plug ‘n work” architecture.

THK’s new VLA Actuators have fewer components and a lower overall cost. By using a THK LM Guide for its base component, long-term cost savings are realized. VLA’s incorporation of patented Caged Technology, a QZ Lubricator, and electro-mechanical components ensure long life, as well as smooth and quiet operation. VLAs are available in slide and cylinder types replacing pneumatic cylinders in many applications.

The easy-to-use software setup “Legend Wizard” prompts the user for answers via text-based questions that will quickly and efficiently generate the program code. The user now can accomplish the intended motion in just minutes versus hours or days compared to other offerings. Customers can solve their industrial linear motion needs with a “best in class” complete package from the two leaders in motion control, THK and Yaskawa.