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John Whittlesea

How do I clean a ball bearing drawer slide?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

17th Sep 2013

Drawer slides should move in and out easily. But if the tracks start to get filled with dirt you could find that the slide is beginning to stick.

Accuride slides have self-cleaning ball retainers that protect the raceways by removing the foreign particles between the ball bearings. However, there are times when particles get stuck in the ball track.

Not all slides can be removed easily from your application. The removal can vary between manufacturers and products. Refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Look for a disconnect lever or latch in the slide track. Or there may be a bracket or lancing holding the track. If you don't see any obvious removal method, try lifting the front of the drawer up then pulling the drawer out and up.

Wipe the dirt from the slide tracks with a clean lint-free cloth soaked in white spirit.

Some drawer slides have no disconnect feature, so you will have to clean them while still in place. Wipe the parts of the track that you can reach and use canned air to blow dirt from areas you can’t.

Accuride slides have a lubricant that is sufficient for normal slide life, but if you do clean the slides this will need to be replaced with quality grease rated for extreme pressure.

Technical hint

Do not use a solvent based product – this can affect the slide’s internal plastic components.

Sue Witkowski

What could happen to your business when a disaster strikes?

Author: Sue Witkowski, Marketing services manager

3rd Sep 2013

Over the past few months I have been part of an in-house team looking at our ability to get the company back up to speed in the case of a disaster.

We have always had a plan, but we thought that a re-visit couldn’t hurt and wanted to concentrate on business continuity rather than just disaster recovery.

This type of project really makes you think carefully about how the company operates, especially the reliance on IT systems. You also need to be confident that you can continue to service your customers, pay your suppliers and pay your staff.

This was certainly a well-worth project. We’ve looked at the risks and made sure that we have back-up across Europe and a business continuity plan that will work.

I am always keen to pass on good ideas so have put together a few useful pointers on how to go about putting a plan together.

How to start a business continuity project?

First steps are to think about the possible disasters that could happen and analyse the risk to the company.

Not every disaster will impact every area of a business, so this is an important first step to ensure that the recovery plans are appropriate.

For example, consider these possible events; each one will need a different planned response:
• damage to the computing and network resource
• bad weather stopping the supply chain
• a ‘flu outbreak amongst your staff
• flood damage to stock
• power outage
• major disruption to site access

Once you have identified the likely risks you can start to plan appropriately to manage any crisis before it becomes a disaster. This is the essence of ‘business continuity’ rather than just disaster recovery.

Assess the impact

• possible incidents & outcomes
• probability rating
• potential impact level

Develop the plan

• immediate aftermath
• which critical functions need to be resumed & in what order
• identify key individuals & duties – ‘who does what’
• customers – make sure that you have a contact list, know what you will be telling them and who will be making the communication.
• don't forget suppliers
• involve your security company and fire service
• make reciprocal arrangements with other local companies

Test the plan

• this could be a desk test or something more extensive
• audit the plan regularly


• staff training
• documentation

Maintaining the plan

• assign someone to be responsible

Business continuity checklist

• Business continuity project manager’s name and contact details
• Team that will make the key decisions
• Contact details to enable the team to be brought together
• Nominated control centre as a meeting point
• Identification of business critical processes and the resources required to continue them
• General resource requirements, for example IT hardware and software, telecommunications
• Details of how a recovery would be phased
• Telephone divert arrangements
• Emergency contact number for employees to obtain the latest information
• Contacts for internal and external agencies who may support the recovery
• Utility supplier details
• Address of the recovery site
• Contents and storage location of a disaster pack
• List of key customers, suppliers, third parties and their contact details
• Comprehensive team cascade list
• Backup computer data and any critical paper records held off-site
• Network diagrams, building plans and other technical information
• Precautions to be taken in the event of an incident, for example, staff evacuation

There are lots of resources available, such as your local Fire Services, Chamber of Commerce or insurance company. If you are located on a business park you may find that there is an association or management firm that can help.

Let’s hope we never need to test it for real.

13th Aug 2013

The distance between the cabinet and drawer is critical if you intend to use a ball bearing drawer slide.

Most slide manufacturers refer to this as ‘side space tolerance’ and it will vary depending on the slide you chose. Always refer to the manufacturers’ installation guides; we can only talk here about the side space needed for Accuride drawer slides.

First you need to know the slide thickness

Look at the cross section drawings or the slide thickness measurements given for each of the slides.
For best performance it is important that the slide has room to move freely.

However, it is also important to understand that ball bearing slides cannot absorb large gap deviations between the cabinet and drawer. The space must be consistent along the whole length of the slide. Also, it must not be too large; this will pull the slide members apart and cause movement problems.

Side space must always be greater than the slide thickness

We recommend that you allow between +0.2mm and +0.5mm over the slide thickness.
For example, the 3832 slide is 12.7mm thick, therefore the side space should be between 12.9 and 13.2mm.

However, there are some slides that will need a different formula for working out the slide space. For the 5321 series of slides only, allow between +0.5mm and +0.9mm over the slide thickness.

Side space tolerance

Some slides are designed to allow a little bit of side space tolerance, which is often needed in woodworking projects.

Look out for slides with breathing tabs; a small tongue of metal with a U slot around it. This allows the tip of the tongue to bend just a little bit to help absorb those tricky tolerances.

Technical tip

Always read the manufacturer’s installation guide – not all slides will need the same side space allowance.

Sue Witkowski

Drawer slides – DIY projects for your own home

Author: Sue Witkowski, Marketing services manager

23rd Jul 2013

Usually our drawer slides are sold into large projects – sometimes into cabinetry and sometimes into industrial applications.

But occasionally we hear about some DIY projects completed in the homes of our business customers.

We think that this is really cool; they obviously like our products well enough to bring them into their own homes. This is a pretty good endorsement for Accuride drawer slides.

Pawel works as Quality Manager at Van Keulen, which is a shop fitter.

The company had been using our DZ2132 drawer runners for many years and, when he wanted to install drawers in his own home, he turned to the same slide.

Pawel is obviously a clever cabinet maker and made this unique bank of storage drawers himself.

I’m not sure that child storage drawers is an interior design trend that we encourage (and we do say that slides should not be used to support human weight), but we’ll allow this one exception because the baby is so cute - and Pawel was there to keep an eye on her.

The second DIY project is a sliding wardrobe door that has been neatly fitted beneath the slope of the roof to use as much storage space as possible.

The DZ3630 two-way-travel slide has been used by Ray Fisher, sales director at Häfele UK, Accuride’s exclusive cabinet hardware distributor in the UK.

The wardrobe project was for his daughter and it was therefore very important that he got this absolutely perfect.

Peter Baxter

Why manufacturers should love their distribution partners

Author: Peter Baxter, European sales director, distribution channel

27th Jun 2013

One of the reasons why Accuride has been such a successful company is the continuing strong relationship with our distribution partners.

This sales strategy has allowed us to concentrate on our core business of the innovative design of ball bearing slides and sliding systems.

Our direct sales to OEMs mainly take the form of bespoke, long term projects and so we rely on our distributors to take on the responsibility to service our growing customer base with the off-the-shelf products.

Building a strong and long term relationship with each distributor has been our aim. Accuride sales managers operate in every region across Europe to support and train the distribution network. This front line support has strong and effective backup from Accuride’s customer service group, quality management systems and marketing services.

Why sell through a distribution channel?

Distributors can often offer a better service. The quick delivery of slides to a large number of companies is something that Accuride would find difficult to support. Add to that the sales, technical and logistic support that distributors can offer and it starts to become obvious why major manufacturers take this route to market.

Also, we can’t be everywhere, but the distributor can be. This is important for our customers who need our products fast and can talk to someone locally. Our slides are where they need to be – at a local distributor’s warehouse.

In 1998 I was tasked with developing a Europe-wide distribution network. We already had a successful network in North America and I wanted to make sure that Europe did not fall behind. I can honestly say that this has been one of the most successful sales strategies that we have ever implemented.

Today, the distribution network has grown rapidly to cover both cabinet hardware and industrial/electronics industries with coverage across all of Europe and into South Africa and the Middle East.

Getting the right manufacturer/distributor mix

Choosing the correct distributor has been the main formula for success. Close relationships have been nurtured by the regional sales managers to maintain long term and profitable business.

Häfele is one of the leading international companies for furniture fittings, architectural hardware, electronic locking systems and technical hardware advice. They have been on board as Accuride’s UK cabinet hardware distributor since the beginning.

Their UK sales director, Ray Fisher, says, ‘We all want to be at the top of our game and Häfele’s close relationship with Accuride has been built on shared aims; to be the best in the business. Not just the best for us, but also for our customers. It’s been a winning recipe for everyone.’

Accuride’s future is now closely bound to the distribution channel. Specialist distributors in new regions and markets are constantly sought to ensure that we have the best coverage and local support possible.

Case studies...

Aluminium slide for access to heavy equipment in train

Accuride’s distribution partner in the Czech Republic, Arcus Engineering, has been working closely with Kolejové pohony, a.s. to provide a viable...

> Read more

Aluminium slide for access to heavy equipment in train

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