Hydrostatic Linear Slides

August 04, 2023
Hydrostatic Linear Slides Provide Reliability, Long-Term Availability, Low Service Costs

When developing new processing machines, more and more manufacturers are turning to external procurement of complete assemblies that have already been optimised in terms of efficiency, precision and costs. These include slide units that are conventionally guided by rolling elements. However, these are subject to wear, cause a significant surge in the driving force when the direction of movement is reversed and have, at best, only minimal damping. These inadequacies are circumvented by hydrostatic guides, which is why many machine manufacturers prefer hydrostatically guided slide units.

Hydrostatically guided slides: contactless and wear-free
The principle of hydrostatic components is based on non-contact movement, which is why hydrostatically guided slides are wear-free and thus have an unlimited service life. The hydrostatically guided linear slide units from Hyprostatik Schönfeld, the technology leader in the field of hydrostatic systems, are characterised by high reliability, long-term availability and low service costs. Since these properties exist independently of the service life, the machine end-customer can produce more effectively and economically in the long term.

Functionality of the hydrostatic slide
Due to the low friction, no force surge occurs when reversing the direction of movement of a hydrostatic slide. As a result, position deviations of less than 0.1 µm are achieved if linear scales are used for displacement measurement. Hyprostatik Schönfeld manufactures the guideway and slide on a high-precision surface grinding machine with hydrostatic guideways in all three axes and hydrostatically mounted grinding spindle. Since a high degree of straightness of the slide movement is achieved, this enables the use of the linear guides even on ultra-precision machines.

Slide variants
These slide units are only offered with hydrostatic guidance and alternatively with feed drive via linear motor or via screw drive with a hydrostatic nut and hydrostatic bearing for the threaded spindle.

No friction, absolutely minimal position deviations
Since no sliding seals are used, the entire friction of the slide movement in both drive versions arises from hydrostatic components. Thus friction is minimal and proportional to the speed. This means that at low speed friction is close to zero. At zero speed it is zero, which is why no force surge occurs when the direction of movement is reversed.

Depending on the possibilities of feed control and the quality of the path measurement, position deviations of less than 0.1 µm can be achieved, whereby path deviations of less than 0.1 µm are achieved with compound slides. It is thus possible, for example, to produce different diameters of a jig grinder by a circular movement of the compound slide. This means that a stable and powerful internal grinding spindle can be used on the vertical slide of these machines. A rotating sleeve with an unstable lateral slide for the internal grinding spindle is no longer required.

Quality of the slide guide
In addition to position deviation, the quality of a slide guide is also determined by the straightness of the slide movement in both directions transverse to the direction of movement. Prerequisites for best results are high rigidity of the hydrostatic guides and low transverse forces from the drive. Furthermore, an excellent degree of straightness of the guide surfaces on the guideway, i.e. a correspondingly precise production machine, is decisive. Both requirements are perfectly met by the hydrostatically guided slides from Hyprostatik Schönfeld.

A blessing from hydrostatics

The compensation of short-wave surface defects of the guideway is a boon from hydrostatics. Surface defects with a significantly smaller area than the area of the hydrostatic pocket are largely compensated due to the integrating effect of hydrostatics.

Which feed drive for which task

The following feed drives are available for different tasks:

  • For ultra-precision machines with the highest demands on planarity at low feed forces, non-ferrous linear motors with as little lateral constraint as possible are suitable.
  • Significantly higher, approx. four times the feed forces are possible with normal linear motors, which are therefore intended for lighter machining forces such as light alloy machining. In relation to the required feed force, linear motors for higher feed forces are very wide and require wider guides. Linear motors can also be thermally overloaded if oscillating loads in the direction of movement continuously generate reaction forces which are above the nominal force of the linear motor.
  • Hydrostatic screw drives are recommended for high feed forces, e.g. for steel and cast iron machining, but also for high alternating forces or oscillating loads, even at high frequency, and for vertical axes. Hydrostatics are immune to these alternating forces. This is demonstrated by the deployment of a threaded drive with a hydrostatic nut with a load capacity of 340 kN in a broaching machine which, after nine years of three-shift operation, only became defective through failure of the motor control system.

In addition to customer-specific designs, Hyprostatik Schönfeld offers standardised solutions in slide widths of 300 mm, 450 mm and 600 mm. The slide length and slide stroke are designed according to customer requirements.

The difference: Hyprostatik Schönfeld competence
"For more than 25 years we have been calculating hydrostatic linear guides and also rotary tables for machine tools, so that users can manufacture these components without themselves having competencies in this technology.

We have designed several hundred guides and gained extensive knowledge and experience in the process. This experience and expertise in the field of hydrostatics enables us to design and manufacture optimal hydrostatically guided slide units.", explains company founder Robert Schönfeld.

This competence is reinforced by comprehensive calculation programs for the best possible design of the hydrostatics to counter static loads and for optimum vibration damping. These calculation programs are used exclusively by Hyprostatik Schönfeld.

A further Hyprostatik Schönfeld asset is the progressive volume control. This controls the oil flow into the hydrostatic pocket. Compared to solutions with capillaries, significantly higher loads are possible and four to five times higher stiffness is achieved.

Furthermore, the manufacturing conditions are also decisive. Hyprostatik Schönfeld manufactures the extraordinarily precise guides on a surface grinding machine with a stable granite bed. The machine is equipped with hydrostatic guides in all axes, a hydrostatic screw drive in the workpiece axis and a hydrostatic grinding spindle.

Related Glossary Terms

  • broaching


    Operation in which a cutter progressively enlarges a slot or hole or shapes a workpiece exterior. Low teeth start the cut, intermediate teeth remove the majority of the material and high teeth finish the task. Broaching can be a one-step operation, as opposed to milling and slotting, which require repeated passes. Typically, however, broaching also involves multiple passes.

  • broaching machine

    broaching machine

    Machine designed specifically to run broaching tools. It is typically designated by operating characteristics (pull, push, rotary, continuous, blind-spline), type of power used (hydraulic, mechanical) and tonnage ratings. Broaching is also performed on arbor presses (manual and powered).

  • feed


    Rate of change of position of the tool as a whole, relative to the workpiece while cutting.

  • grinding


    Machining operation in which material is removed from the workpiece by a powered abrasive wheel, stone, belt, paste, sheet, compound, slurry, etc. Takes various forms: surface grinding (creates flat and/or squared surfaces); cylindrical grinding (for external cylindrical and tapered shapes, fillets, undercuts, etc.); centerless grinding; chamfering; thread and form grinding; tool and cutter grinding; offhand grinding; lapping and polishing (grinding with extremely fine grits to create ultrasmooth surfaces); honing; and disc grinding.

  • grinding machine

    grinding machine

    Powers a grinding wheel or other abrasive tool for the purpose of removing metal and finishing workpieces to close tolerances. Provides smooth, square, parallel and accurate workpiece surfaces. When ultrasmooth surfaces and finishes on the order of microns are required, lapping and honing machines (precision grinders that run abrasives with extremely fine, uniform grits) are used. In its “finishing” role, the grinder is perhaps the most widely used machine tool. Various styles are available: bench and pedestal grinders for sharpening lathe bits and drills; surface grinders for producing square, parallel, smooth and accurate parts; cylindrical and centerless grinders; center-hole grinders; form grinders; facemill and endmill grinders; gear-cutting grinders; jig grinders; abrasive belt (backstand, swing-frame, belt-roll) grinders; tool and cutter grinders for sharpening and resharpening cutting tools; carbide grinders; hand-held die grinders; and abrasive cutoff saws.

  • jig


    Tooling usually considered to be a stationary apparatus. A jig assists in the assembly or manufacture of a part or device. It holds the workpiece while guiding the cutting tool with a bushing. A jig used in subassembly or final assembly might provide assembly aids such as alignments and adjustments. See fixture.

  • jig grinder

    jig grinder

    Machine for grinding molds and dies where the positioning, shaping and finishing of holes and other surfaces are needed.

  • linear motor

    linear motor

    Functionally the same as a rotary motor in a machine tool, a linear motor can be thought of as a standard permanent-magnet, rotary-style motor slit axially to the center and then peeled back and laid flat. The major advantage of using a linear motor to drive the axis motion is that it eliminates the inefficiency and mechanical variance caused by the ballscrew assembly system used in most CNC machines.

  • stiffness


    1. Ability of a material or part to resist elastic deflection. 2. The rate of stress with respect to strain; the greater the stress required to produce a given strain, the stiffer the material is said to be. See dynamic stiffness; static stiffness.

  • surface grinding

    surface grinding

    Machining of a flat, angled or contoured surface by passing a workpiece beneath a grinding wheel in a plane parallel to the grinding wheel spindle. See grinding.

  • turning


    Workpiece is held in a chuck, mounted on a face plate or secured between centers and rotated while a cutting tool, normally a single-point tool, is fed into it along its periphery or across its end or face. Takes the form of straight turning (cutting along the periphery of the workpiece); taper turning (creating a taper); step turning (turning different-size diameters on the same work); chamfering (beveling an edge or shoulder); facing (cutting on an end); turning threads (usually external but can be internal); roughing (high-volume metal removal); and finishing (final light cuts). Performed on lathes, turning centers, chucking machines, automatic screw machines and similar machines.


With nanometer resolution and control over the tool grinding path, the MicroX ULTRA delivers a high…

With the 4-watt UV and green 10-watt marking lasers, the new V-Series offers higher performance and…

The flat clamping fastener, with machining spacing tolerance of ±0.1 and repeatability of ±0.3, is…