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Why can’t I get a dampened soft-close on a short telescopic slide?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

19th Feb 2014

One of the more popular features in slides today is the soft-close mechanism. This feature brings drawers to a gentle close and helps prevent slamming.

Soft-close mechanisms are fitted within the profile of the slide at the rear and typically can take up between 80 to 100 mm. This has an impact on the length of the intermediate member and the ball retainer lengths. This in turn has an impact on the load rating of the slide, the available space for fixing points and the ability to achieve the travel / extension requirements.

The main problem is lack of space within the slide.

The movement in a telescopic slide is provided by ball bearings running in a ball retainer.

To get good movement and load rating, we need to maximise member length and particularly get good ball coverage. This translates to: the more ball bearings, the higher the load.

Once you get to shorter slide lengths the space becomes restricted and there will be less room for fixing points at the rear of the slide.

On our heavy duty soft-closing slide (5321EC and 5417EC) we have added extra fixing holes right at the back of the slide for this very reason.

The shortest soft-close slide we produce (3832EC) is 350mm long and the travel is restricted to 310mm.

Slides shorter than this would not have enough space for the soft-close mechanism. The intermediate member is too short and we cannot fit enough ball bearings to give a suitable load rating.

For slides shorter than 350mm, we suggest that you look out for an externally mounted, retro-fit, soft-close mechanism that can be fitted alongside the slide.

These pull the drawer closed for the last few cm and can be used either on one or both drawer slides depending on the load required.

There will still be a length of slide that is too short for any type of damper - unless you invent one; we’d be pleased to hear from you.

PS: coming soon – an Accuride heavy duty soft-close damping system for use alongside the DA0115RC, which could also be mounted alongside many of our other slide series, as an external soft-close.

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