The dovetail design and natural wiping action
of the slide helps remove debris from the dovetail base. Still,
there are times when added protections is required.
Way covers are a convenient method to protect
the UniSlide slider
and dovetail from
dust, dirt and grit that may be in the working environment. These
consist of Estane bellows and attaching plates, and are available
for Free Sliding, Screw Drive and Graduated Knob (requires P10 or
Q1 screw and Revolution Counter) UniSlides.
Way covers are available for A25, A40, A60 and
B90 Series; not A15 Series. Adding way covers will increase slider
height and reduce the travel of a standard UniSlide. See the graph
below for travel with way covers. When building an XY system with
way covers, a special, thicker XY adapter plate is necessary.
The complete set consists of 7 plates: 3 encasing
the slider and 4 plates which anchor the 4 end of the 2 bellows.
|| Basic cost
||Plus per inch of free travel
Compatibility with UniSlide Styles
Way covers work with Free Sliding, Screw
Drive and Graduated Knob styles. With the GK style, you need to
also use a revolution
counter because the way covers obscure
the scale. Way covers are incompatible with Scale and Vernier and
Rapid Advance UniSlides and linear encoders.
Mounting the slide upside down (with the
payload on the underside of the dovetail base) will avoid accumulation
of debris. Be mindful of exceeding the cantilevered
If you have very abrasive dust in the air,
way covers may not be the best solution. Way covers protect the
top of the slide and are loosely fitted along the sides. Abrasive
dust can be aspirated under the covers.
A solution for a short UniSlides is a "baggie"
around the entire slide that has enough slack in the top of it to
allow travel. If it is fitted tightly around the slider, it should
keep out most of the dust. Supplementing this, you can add a low pressure
air line into the way cover or baggie making a positive pressure area inside.
The combination of the two should keep the slide clean.
Abrasives hasten wear of the dovetail ways.
This can be reduced by increasing the hardness of the ways with
coat anodized finish. The amount of
abrasion is also related to how often the slide is adjusted.
Photo 2: Waycovers on a unit with left and right lead screw for together and apart motion.