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Linear Motion Control - 01/11/2020

NSK Linear motion systems for medical imaging equipment

To meet challenges such as those presented by medical imaging systems, including MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography) equipment, the healthcare industry relies on its supply chain to help produce innovative, reliable, maintenance-free machines.
Among the trusted manufacturers utilised for medical imaging equipment is NSK, which provides complete assemblies that include linear guides, ball screws and other solutions.

High-quality linear motion products are essential for medical imaging and MRI equipment, as uneven surfaces or inconsistent movements can produce unreliable results or information that ultimately leads to sub-standard care for patients. Designers of these systems must therefore consider every detail, including ball screw actuators and linear guides.

Linear motion systems from NSK have proven themselves well suited to the accuracy and precision that medical imaging equipment demands. In MRI scanners, for example, one of the most important components required for successful operation is the motorised ball screw. The ball screw utilises cylindrical motion to move the machine’s imaging equipment along a plane with extreme accuracy and precision. Since this equipment is large and complex, these ball screws must accommodate heavy loads and produce movement that is sufficiently smooth and consistent to generate clear, reliable results.

MRI technology also requires the use of high magnetic force, so the ball screws and other components need to function in this type of environment without affecting the machine’s energy. Ball screws from NSK are ideal for use in MRI scanners, providing both the load-bearing capabilities and smooth movement required. Smooth motion not only contributes to accurate results – thus avoiding potentially disastrous misdiagnosis – but improves patient comfort and safety during scans.

Unlike other types of ball screw feature circular arc grooves, where balls can get wedged, NSK uses offset gothic-style arch grooves to avoid this phenomenon by minimising the available clearance between the balls and grooves. Furthermore, durability is boosted through the use of purified alloy steel, while any potential for backlash is eliminated thanks to an application of preload.

NSK’s extensive range of high-quality linear guides are also found widely in medical imaging devices. Designed to move various components along a single plane, linear guides must deliver smooth motion and reliable functionality. It is also important that linear guides provide reliable movement over a significant time period without the need for repairs, maintenance or related services. Capability of this ilk can reduce downtime and costs, and keep medical imaging equipment functioning efficiently for as long as possible.

Linear guides from NSK make use of precision technology, advanced surface treatments and high-quality lubricants, which means they are better equipped to move components along linear planes without unnecessary friction. Over the long term, this capability reduces the opportunity for wear, boosting the uptime and operational life of medical imaging systems. Durability is further driven by avoiding structural complexity, and through the use of super-clean materials and advanced heat treatment.

A popular selection for medical imaging systems are NSK’s NH linear guides, which offer double the lifespan of conventional products due to the inclusion of features like specially developed ball groove geometry. Further benefits include high dynamic load rating, long maintenance intervals, low noise output and simple installation.

All of NSK’s linear guides and ball screws can be customised to suit individual requirements. The company’s solutions offer proven reliability and durability – along with quiet and maintenance-free operation – all of which are prerequisites for medical imaging systems the world over. 


Picture: Linear motion systems from NSK have proven themselves ideal for the accuracy and precision that medical imaging equipment demands. Photo: KaliAntye/

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