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Linear axes at a glance: the right drive for your system

drylin drive technology consists of a wide range of products ranging from lightweight linear axes made of polymer to solid stainless steel solutions; they work without the use of external lubricants. The movement of the linear axes is implemented either via lead screws, toothed belts or racks. igus offers the customer suitable solutions for the most individual applications. In all systems, the length of the stroke is freely selectable and the drive of the linear units can be implemented using optionally available equipment in the form of hand wheels or various motors. Positioning tables driven by lead screws are the preferred choice for applications with high axial shear forces, which therefore require the highest precision.

Across models, the linear modules can be equipped with trapezoidal or high helix lead screws.  Linear axes with toothed belt drives are designed for long travels and highest speeds in applications with high repeatability and short cycle times.  
The  linear units for high speed and long travels with direct power transmission via racks offer the additional benefit of allowing multiple carriages to move independently and clearance-free of each other, on one system.

Linear axes with lead screw drive  
Linear drives with lead screw

  • Cost-effective & precise format adjustment

Linear axes with lead screw drive

Linear axes with toothed belt drive  
Linear drives with toothed belt

  • Very efficient due to low inertia

Linear axes with toothed belt drive

Cantilever axes  
Lightweight cantilever axis

  • Maximum precision even with long travels

Cantilever axes

Lead screw drive: advantages and disadvantages

When to use it?

  • For format adjustments
  • In extreme environments
  • When a cost-effective, ready-to-fit solution is required
  • When corrosion resistance is required
  • When a quiet operation is required

When not to use it?

  • When high loads need to travel at highly dynamic forces
  • When positioning accuracy of < 0.1mm is required
  • When high running performance in continuous operation is required

Structure of an igus lead screw axis

Lead screw axis of igus in cross section  


 Lubrication-free due to polymer bearings and polymer nuts


 3 shaft materials


 8 trapezoidal thread pitches, 4 high helix thread pitches


 Body material made of stainless steel, aluminium, zinc or polymer


 Lead screw machined to drawing or plain drive shaft


 Accessories available

Toothed belt drive: advantages and disadvantages

When to use it?

  • Quickly position small loads
  • For low-profile structure
  • Quiet operation and continuous operation
  • Underwater use with UW belt
  • Basic version as a low-priced solution

When not to use it?

  • When high loads need to be moved at high speeds
  • When positioning accuracy of < 0.1mm is needed

Structure of an igus toothed belt axis

Toothed belt axis from igus in cross section  


 End supports with ball bearing


 Lubrication-free linear guide with polymer plain bearings


 Various carriage lengths


 Polyurethane (PU) or neoprene toothed belt


 Hard-anodised aluminium

Linear drive with rack: advantages and disadvantages

When to use it?

  • Pick and place applications with high dynamics
  • For compact structure of the application
  • As z axis in multi-axis gantries

When not to use it?

  • High loads
  • Self-locking
  • Dirt-filled application fields

Structure of an igus rack axis (z-axis)

Rack axis from igus in cross section  


 Direct force transfer via rack


 Torsional rigidity through aluminium hollow shaft drylin AWMR


 Lubrication-free and maintenance-free due to drylin R linear liners


 Dynamic mass (0.9 kg) enables fast operation

Customers application examples

Bend testing device

This device was built to test welds thoroughly. Bending specimens with a force of 5,000N are possible with this machine. In addition to the standard drylin lead screw unit range, which implements the format adjustment of the bending die, linear guides of the drylin W series are also used. With them, the specified support distances are adjustable.

Welds are subjected to stress tests

Linear drives in pick and place order picking unit

Assisted by drylin linear units with toothed belt axes (ZLW 1040 and ZLW 1080), an automatic picking station equipped with 2D and 3D cameras automatically recognises empty containers. The systems are one hundred percent lubrication-free and are characterised by extreme smoothness, the achievement of high speeds and a great degree of accuracy.

Linear drives in automatic order picking machines

Further information

Cost-effective drylin® econ linear axes  
Suitable entry-level models | drylin econ

You will find cost-effective linear modules for positioning and adjustment tasks here.

Videos for the assembly of drylin® drive technology  
Assembly videos | drylin drive technology

Helpful tips for the assembly of drylin drive technology from igus.


I would be happy to answer your questions personally

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Saturdays from 8 am- 12 pm.