Most electro-mechanical slide systems are formed of an extruded aluminium slide table assembly in a range of different sizes, with a single or double guide rail and an arrangement of steel ball bearings driven by an electric motor. This motor applies power via a belt or ball screw thread, which delivers kinetic energy to the slide assembly. The amount of force delivered by such a system depends on the load and the appropriate power of the motor.
In an electric linear slide system, the electric motor provides the initial momentum to drive the slide assembly. Some typical examples of this are Cartesian Robots, which needs to move smoothly along a predetermined route at a regulated speed. Other precision systems, such as pick and place machines, use electric slides to guarantee an accurate and reliable guided delivery. For higher load carrying capacity, some companies such as Festo have developed a twin-rail system.
For applications requiring a higher load capability, it is possible to use two electric slide units running side by side, but this is less efficient than a twin-rail design. Festo's handling solution for heavy duty applications employs a single combined axis and a wider profile, built with multiple guide rails to accommodate high load applications. Such a system still uses the steel ball bearings in the electric slide, but of a slightly larger dimension so as to offer fewer points of friction, and arranged in an 'O' configuration.