Linear Guideways Enhance Modern Medical Equipment

In the healthcare industry, precise and reliable equipment is essential for the greatest level of patient care. This means motion control components used within medical devices must provide reliable operation, while also supporting accurate, smooth and quiet motion. This can make selection of motion control components for medical device design tricky, especially in applications where straight-line motion is needed for adjusting patients, moving heavy-duty medical equipment, dosing treatments or analyzing samples. Fortunately, linear guideways provide a solid solution as they tick all the necessary boxes needed to create the next generation of medical care apparatus.

What are Linear Guides?

Linear guides are high-quality components that provide smooth, straight-line motion at high speeds. Consisting of a linear base, a slider and bearings with the slider being attached to the moving component and the linear base being mounted to a stationary surface, linear guideways provide low-friction, high-strength, ultra-high precision and accuracy down to the micrometer. Further, because linear guideways are designed to roll loads across rails, essentially eliminating friction, they are highly efficient.

Due to the low-friction co-efficient design, sticking and slipping are eliminated, allowing linear guides to provide high levels of positioning accuracy in a highly repeatable fashion. The low-friction operation also allows linear guides to bear loads in radial, reversed radial and two lateral directions with reliability and strength. Additionally, the low levels of friction accommodate high speeds with minimal power consumption and little heat and noise generation.

Additionally, when properly designed, lubrication can be easily supplied through the grease nipple on the carriage or by using a centralized oil pumping system, reducing maintenance requirements while ensuring long-term operation, precision and reliability.

medical industry

Suitability for Use in Medical Devices

Because linear guides provide high-positional accuracy, high repeatability, low-frictional resistance, low noise levels, great strength and high speeds with few maintenance requirements and high operational dependability, they are game changers when installed in medical devices that require smooth, accurate and quiet straight-line motion with reliable performance.

For this reason, linear guides are essential to providing positional control in a wide variety of medical equipment and devices, including:

Hospital bedwhere linear guideways facilitate adjustable motion that allows multi-directional movement so healthcare providers can recline, pivot or adjust beds.
MRI machines, CT scanners and X-ray machineswhich must be precisely adjusted so care providers can secure the most accurate images.
Analytical equipmentsuch as DNA sequencers and blood analyzers, that allows medical providers to tailor personalized treatments for patients.
Infusion pumpswhich require accuracy and repeatability to provide the proper flow rate and ensure the correct dosage of medications.
Surgical robotswhich depend upon accurate and precise placement of tools when performing surgeries.

Selecting Linear Guides for Medical Devices

Because medical devices impact human life, the equipment used in these applications demands repeatable, precise and reliable components. Fortunately, properly designed, high-quality linear guideways, such as PMI linear guideways from Accu Tech USA, are available for use in medical equipment that demands reliable point-to-point motion. However, because not all medical devices have the same specifications, it’s important to closely examine the various types of linear guideways and select the one that’s most appropriate for each application. Accu Tech offers the following types of linear guides:

  • Full-ball linear guide: This type of linear guideway offers smooth movement, self-alignment, and low noise. Full-ball linear guides are available in heavy-load versions for applications such as imaging machines and hospital beds. They also come in a compact style that is suitable for use in miniature medical devices.
  • Full-roller/heavy-load type: Full-roller, heavy-load linear guideways offer the ability to manage ultra-heavy loads with ultra-high rigidity, smooth movement and low noise, as well as a good lubrication effect. They are well suited to applications such as imaging/scanning equipment and hospital beds or exam tables.
  • Ball-chain/heavy-load type: This type of linear guideway provides self-alignment capabilities, as well as a ball-chain design for heavy loads, high rigidity, quiet operation, and smooth motion. They are also easy to lubricate and can be interchangeable. Ball-chain, heavy-load linear guides excel in applications such as X-ray, CT scanners and MRI machines.
  • Roller-chain/heavy-load type: Roller-chain, heavy-load linear guides provide high rigidity in ultra-heavy load conditions. The roller-chain design offers smooth motion and low noise. They find use in scanners,, beds and tables.
  • Linear guide with ball screw actuator: For compact applications that require high rigidity and accuracy, an actuator manufactured with a linear guide and a ball screw unit combines the carriage of the linear guideway and the nut of the ball screw to provide a complete, but compact linear motion system. The carriage nut serves to operate efficiently with the U rail to provide high rigidity and high accuracy in a limited space, making them suitable for analyzers and other laboratory equipment.

When choosing a linear guideway, specifications such as the necessary levels of accuracy, precision and repeatability are essential. Additionally, point-to-point travel distance, space restrictions, load capacity, maintenance requirements and reliability levels are also important selection considerations.

When properly selected from a trusted manufacturer, linear guideways can provide smooth, quiet and precise straight-line motion for medical equipment that demands reliable operation with limited maintenance requirements, ensuring that patients receive the greatest levels of care and comfort. To learn how PMI linear guideways from Accu Tech USA can enhance your medical device design, please contact Accu Tech USA, a JHFOSTER company.