How to select and apply rail brakes

Linear guide rail brakes play a critical role in many linear motion applications by ensuring that the guide carriage and payload do not move under load.
Precision linear motion is an important requirement for a range of machinery such as packaging machines, metal-cutting machine tools, woodworking machines and medical systems, among others. Many linear motion applications require the ability to stop the motion at various points while work is performed. Rail brakes provide an efficient method of stopping linear motion by providing holding force on profile rail guides in a package small enough to work alongside linear bearing blocks. Rail brakes must be capable of providing reliable, high holding force while ensuring low backlash for accurate positioning. One very popular design uses a series of spring engaged/pneumatic released pistons to apply a clamping force. The design uses a wedge and roller mechanism on the non-bearing contact surface of the guide rail. Selecting the correct rail brake for a particular application begins with calculating the maximum holding force required by the application. Next, select a brake, or brakes, that will deliver that force while ensuring that the brake fits the profile rail.

Download: How to select and apply Rail Brakes

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