A linear guide rail is a fixed beam cut to length, along which any number of items can move freely using linear movement, depending on the load needed and the configuration of the fixture. The carriage which sits on the linear rail, contains the linear bearings which provide contact points between the two. Linear rails are typically used on doors, machine guarding and seating.
Plain bearings are the simplest type of linear guides, with their straightforward construction and easy installation process. There are several types, including boxway and dovetail, both of which can carry high loads.
Rolling linear guides incorporate balls or rollers between two bearing surfaces. They can be recirculating or non-recirculating: recirculating designs have ongoing motion along the rail and so can continue to roll for an infinite distance, while non-recirculating designs are limited by the length of the bearing.
There are various different types of linear rail, ranging from 'V'-shaped steel rails through to compact shaft raceways and flexible options made from stainless steel and aluminium.