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Telescopic drawer slides are rated by load – but what does this mean?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

27th Mar 2013

Drawer slide manufacturers always give a maximum load rating for their products and you may be wondering what this means.

This is the maximum load that a pair of slides can carry, but only IF you mount them as instructed and don’t exceed their cycle rating. The stated load ratings are a gross load, so don’t forget to add the weight of the drawer construction materials to your calculations

‘Cycle rate’ is another term that we should explain. When slides are tested they are set up in a test rig with a drawer, or in their application environment, and ‘cycled’ in and out a number of times. One cycle = a complete open and close.

The cycle test is a dynamic load test. Different cycle rates are used depending on the type of slide and the expected application. For example, in applications for the Industrial and electronic market sector, the cycle rate will typically be between 2,000 and 10,000 cycles and for the furniture market sector, the cycle rate will typically be between 50,000 and 80,000 cycles.

All our products are subjected to a static load test at full extension of the sliding elements. The load applied will typically be at least twice that of the dynamic load test. This means the slide will have a 100% static safety factor in the extended position.

Deflection of the drawer and sliding element are measured during the dynamic test phase and this is correlated to the load and number of test cycles completed. Din 68 858 details the allowable percentage of the extension this deflection can be.

Accuride tests all of its standard slides in the same way so that you can compare ‘like for like’. Remember that the tests have been devised for the drawer and component together – there are no standard tests just for slides. If you have an application that is not a drawer – and Accuride slides can be found in many and varied types of applications – then we would recommend that you test the slides in your own situation.

When you look at a product page you will see that we give a load per length, state the cycle rate used for the test and the load rate where flat mounting is available.

Testing methods for drawer slides

The tests are conducted in our in-house laboratories, which are based in each of our design and manufacturing sites around the globe.

The slides are typically mounted 450mm apart and the load is placed with its centre of gravity in the centre of drawer. Measurements are taken and the test rig is then started and will run through the cycles, with further measurements and checks made along the way. As previously mentioned, we test furniture sector slides up to 80,000 cycles and industrial sector slides up to 10,000 cycles, but there are variations. Look at the datasheets for detailed information.

A wider drawer has a negative effect on slide performance and choosing the wrong slide can result in a side-to-side wracking movement that feels loose and unstable. Some of our slides are designed specifically for wider drawer applications and are therefore tested further apart. These are detailed in our product catalogue and website.

Our product is also subjected to slam open and slam shut test elements, which entail slamming the drawer / slide against the open and closed end stops. This test is carried out for 10 slams in both directions at a speed of between 1.25 and 1.85 m/sec, dependant upon the load applied.

Different applications may have their own set of standards for testing and we can accommodate customer requests.

Our general test standards come from a range of national and international sources, such as; BIFMA, ANSI, ISO, BS and Din, etc.

We can also set up tests for a customer’s project. Sometimes we may need to take the test out of house, for example, crash testing for automotive applications.

Things to consider before you select a ball bearing drawer slide, read more.

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