Q&A   Linear Actuators

The following is the list of answers for frequently asked questions from our customers. Click the question and see the answer.

Zip Chain Actuator

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Q1What is the allowable lateral load?
Q2What is the allowable torsional load?
Q3What about maintenance?
Q4How do I grease it?
Q5Is there any recommended grease?
Q6Does it need to be lubricated?
Q7Is it possible to mount a grease nipple?
Q8Are special greases (food grade, low dust generating) available?
Q9How long is its service life?
Q10What determines its service life?
Q11How will I know when its reached its service life?
Q12Can just the chain be replaced?
Q13Does it have a self-locking feature?
Q14How much will the Zip Chain bend in horizontal installations?
Q15Can all options be combined?
Q16Do ZCA units come with a motor?
Q17Do ZCA units come with a servomotor?
Q18Are there any limits to operation frequency?
Q19Is there a voltage doubling type?
Q20Is inverter operation possible?
Q21Why is the generated thrust of some models the same, even though they have a higher reduction ratio? (For example: ZCA35M050EL040H20: 1000N(102.0kgf・m))
Q22What if there is no combination of motor with the thrust and speed I need?
Q23Are delivery dates the same for all types with hypoid motors/TERVO?
Q24Do you need a mounting base?
Q25Is there any types with bellows to keep dust and debris out?
Q26Can bellows be used in horizontal installation?
Q27For TERVO attached products, are servo motors other than those listed in the catalog available?
Q28Can bellows be installed later?
Q29Do bellows interfere with the chain transmitting power?
Q30Can bellows be used in special environments (for less wear debris, spattering resistance, etc.)?
Q31The tap hole on the end fixture seems small. Will it be strong enough?
Q32Are special end fixtures available?
Q33Are there units with the input shaft on the opposite side?
Q34Are there any special input shafts?
Q35How do you distinguish the basic model from those with input shafts on the opposite side?
Q36Is it possible to install separate mounting taps on the drive section?
Q37Is there caps available for the opening on the drive section?
Q38Is there any cautions for interlocked operation ?
Q39Are strokes other than those listed in the catalog available?
Q40Is there enough stroke?
Q41Can housing section be changed to steel?
Q42Can it be used in the clean room?
Q43Can resin used in the housing section be changed?
Q44Will the chain break if it buckles?
Q45We want to see the actual product, can you provide any samples?
Q46Are there any cautions regarding use in hanging applications?
Q47Can the chain be pulled out?
Q48Is it all right that the end fixture is slightly twisted when the chain is pulled out?
Q49Can a sensor or the like be mounted on the ZCA?
Q50Should end fixtures always be fixed on the driven side?
Q51Are there any limitations to the mounting direction?
Q52Can ZCA units be used outdoors?
Q53What is the operating temperature for the Linipower Jack?
Q54Why is a sealant only used in some places on the mating surface of the housing section?
Q55Why are only made-to-order items available for hanging applications?
Q56Can a handle be mounted on the unit?
Q57Is allowable load equal to basic capacity?
Q58Are there any cautions when lifting 100N loads using ZCA35N050? (I need to give priority to the stroke.)
Q59Are there any problems with weight (needing more power than needed) when pulling out the chain?
Q60What is the relation between the direction of input shaft rotation and the direction the chain extends in?
Q61Can the end of the chain be used as a stopper?
Q62Is multi-point stopping possible?
Q63What is the relation between allowable input shaft torque and basic capacity?
Q64In horizontal installations (Y), will performance differ if the chain case is installed vertically or horizontally?
Q65Why does the rated thrust drop when using in the long stroke?
Q66How to request Non-applicable certificate?
Q67How long can the stroke length be extended?
 Answers
Q1What is the allowable lateral load?
A1

ZCA cannot handle lateral loads. Be sure to always attach a linear guide in the direction of travel.

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Q2What is the allowable torsional load?
A2

The Zip Chain cannot handle torsional loads.

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Q3What about maintenance?
A3

Lubricate the Zip Chain with grease. Under normal operation, the lubrication cycle will be one year or 500,000 cycles (for ZCA25) or  350,000 cycles (for ZCA35) or  100,000 cycles (for ZCA45), whichever is shorter. However, it depends on the operation frequency and conditions. See the instruction manual for more information.

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Q4How do I grease it?
A4

When lubricating Zip Chains, wipe away any old grease and directly apply grease evenly to the whole body of the Zip Chain with a brush or the like. See the instruction manual for more information on lubrication amount and methods.

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Q5Is there any recommended grease?
A5

The unit is shipped greased with Shell Alvania EP Grease 2 (Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.). See the instruction manual for more information on other recommended greases.

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Q6Does it need to be lubricated?
A6

There is no particular need to lubricate the unit. There is a risk that lubricating will cause grease to flow out of the unit (spattering).

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Q7Is it possible to mount a grease nipple?
A7

Yes. However, a grease nipple mounted on the drive section cannot lubricate the entire chain. Therefore, there are limits to its usage conditions such as decreasing service life or increasing lubrication frequency. Also, consider using lubrication plates (option code: F), available as an option.

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Q8Are special greases (food grade, low dust generating) available?
A8

We can use any grease you provide, but ask that you submit an MSDS for the grease and answer a check sheet regarding the grease's environmental load. However, we cannot confirm your grease's compatibility with Zip Chains and therefore will not be covered by warranty. Also, we assume that your lubrication cycle and service life will be shorter, unlike with our recommended grease. We currently grease the pins and bushes with the grease you provide when assembling the unit. (We previously applied grease to the outer surface after wiping away Tsubaki's recommended.)

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Q9How long is its service life?
A9

For a total stroke cycle at basic capacity, the replacement period should be every 4000km of running distance, or approximately six million cycles at 300mm stroke, four million cycles at 500mm stroke, and two million cycles at 1000mm stroke. Be aware that it will depend on usage and lubrication conditions.

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Q10What determines its service life?
A10

It's calculated from the wear life of the chain and the rated life of the drive section bearing (B10).

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Q11How will I know when its reached its service life?
A11

The Zip Chains will not form a straight column; they will be loose. This is because the contact surface between specially shaped link plates has worn.

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Q12Can just the chain be replaced?
A12

You cannot replace just the chain. Replace any ZCA unit that has reached its service life. A Zip Chain that has reached its service life means the ZCA unit's bearings have also reached its service life, so the whole unit should be replaced with a new one.

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Q13Does it have a self-locking feature?
A13

There are no self-locking structures or features because the unit is extremely efficient.

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Q14How much will the Zip Chain bend in horizontal installations?
A14

The chain will bend under its own weight when the chain has been pulled out of the unit to the end of its stroke. When installing the ZCA horizontally, this is about 0 to 2mm for the ZCA25 and 0 to 6mm for the ZCA35. (This includes the backlash when the chain exits the drive section.) For ZCA45, the amount of bend is 9 to 14mm in the stroke length of 1000mm stroke, 27 to 51mm in the stroke length of 1500mm , and 70 to 135mm in the stroke length of 2000mm. This amount of bend increases with the number of cycles. The amount of bend tends to increase especially when vertically installing the chain case. Be sure to always attach a linear guide when installing horizontally.

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Q15Can all options be combined?
A15

All catalog options can basically be combined. However, inform a Tsubaki representative of the combination you are considering if a dimensional check is needed as each dimension (minimum and maximum stroke and mounting dimensions) may differ.

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Q16Do ZCA units come with a motor?
A16

For induction motors, there is a hypoid motor brake. This series features is integrated by directly connecting a hollow shaft type hypoid to the shaft. Be aware that when fixing the unit underside to a frame, the motor body or motor fan cover will be larger than the mounting surface of the main body.

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Q17Do ZCA units come with a servomotor?
A17

All sizes of ZCA25, ZCA35 and ZCA45 TERVO (servo motor reducer)attached types are standardized. Please refer to Tsubaki catalogs for more details.

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Q18Are there any limits to operation frequency?
A18

If the ZCA does not have a motor, it will depend on the input motor and equipment, so it will be in line with the capacity of the drive source. On the other hand, for units with motors, the allowable start-up frequency is determined in light of inertia and heat generation from the motor. Depending on the combination of ZCA and hypoid motor, there may need to be limits to hypoid motor start-up frequency in the checkpoints for inertia ratio for hypoid motor selection. These limits are shown in the catalog. Contact a Tsubaki representative regarding usage conditions that exceed the allowable start-up frequency, since they can be used in some situations by using the unit with an inverter and changing the motor to a servomotor.

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Q19Is there a voltage doubling type?
A19

A 400V class motor can be selected for both ZCA025M/ZCA135M. However, for inverter drives, the Hypoid Motor Mini Series (60/90W) used with ZCA025M does not have any means to protect against high voltage surges (micro surges) generated by inverter switching. Therefore, using an inverter will cause premature dielectric breakdown. On the other hand, even standard Hypoid Motors (0.1/0.2/0.4kW) used with ZCA135M have microsurge protection functions. See the instruction manual for more information on Tsubaki's small-size gear motors.

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Q20Is inverter operation possible?
A20

With standard 200V class, the motor mounted to the ZCA25M (Hypoid Motor 60/90W) cannot be operated at low frequencies or at frequencies higher than 60Hz. Meanwhile, the motors mounted to the ZCA35M (Hypoid Motor 0.2/0.4kW) and the ZCA45M (Hypoid Motor 0.4/0.75kW) have torque limits when they are operated at low frequencies or at frequencies higher than 60 Hz. Either way, do not operate the brake at high speed (60Hz or higher) as it will cause mechanical breakage or abnormal wear of the brake lining. See the instruction manual for more information on Tsubaki's small size gear motors.

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Q21Why is the generated thrust of some models the same, even though they have a higher reduction ratio? (For example: ZCA35M050EL040H20: 1000N(102.0kgf・m))
A21

Generated torque generally increases as the reduction ratio of a reducer increases. However, torque limits are set because they it will exceed the basic capacity of the ZCA35. Be sure to use the unit within its limits.

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Q22What if there is no combination of motor with the thrust and speed I need?
A22

For those combinations not listed in the catalog, we can provide as MTO items.

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Q23Are delivery dates the same for all types with hypoid motors/TERVO?
A23

The delivery of standard catalog combinations is three weeks after order. Please contact us if the order quantity is more than 4 pcs.

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Q24Do you need a mounting base?
A24

The ZCA body has mounting taps not only on the sides of drive section, but on the sides of the unit as well. The mounting base is required for hanging applications. Note that only made-to-order items are available for hanging applications.

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Q25Is there any types with bellows to keep dust and debris out?
A25

Bellows are available for all ZCA products. Standard bellows (option code: J1) are used for lifting and hanging applications. Bellows will need to be replaced periodically, and their life is not guaranteed to match the life of the ZCA.

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Q26Can bellows be used in horizontal installation?
A26

When using horizontally, bellows will interfere with Zip Chain and suffer premature damage.Special bellows that incorporate special parts are needed. Please choose option J2.

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Q27For TERVO attached products, are servo motors other than those listed in the catalog available?
A27

Available as MTO items.Please consult us for details.

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Q28Can bellows be installed later?
A28

It's possible now. (Except for horizontally attached bellows.)However, be aware that the allowable stroke for the amount of bellows retraction will be different.(Example: When installing bellows later on ZCA35N050EL, Lmin will change from 131mm to 220mm and the allowable stroke will change from 500mm to 411mm.)

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Q29Do bellows interfere with the chain transmitting power?
A29

The bellows will protrude slightly from the main body. Refer to the instruction manual for the amount they will protrude and select a sprocket that will not interfere with them.

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Q30Can bellows be used in special environments (for less wear debris, spattering resistance, etc.)?
A30

We will find the right bellows for you if you let a Tsubaki representative know your usage conditions and environment. Bellows will need to be replaced periodically, and their life is not guaranteed to match the life of the ZCA. Also, the minimum (maximum) stroke will differ when the minimum height with the bellows in a retracted position differs. Please consult us for details.

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Q31The tap hole on the end fixture seems small. Will it be strong enough?
A31

Dimensions are determined by stress analysis. There will be no problems with strength.

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Q32Are special end fixtures available?
A32

Yes, but you will need to consider the balance of strength with the Zip Chain.

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Q33Are there units with the input shaft on the opposite side?
A33

The shaft arrangement of standard products is available for L (standard), R (reverse shaft), and T (dual shafts).

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Q34Are there any special input shafts?
A34

Dual shafts and different shaft diameters, shaft lengths, and key sizes are available. Contact a Tsubaki representative for more information.

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Q35How do you distinguish the basic model from those with input shafts on the opposite side?
A35

Looking at the input shaft from the front, basic models have their chains to the left, while types with input shafts on opposite side have theirs to the right. With dual shafts (T), the chain positions are the same. The drive section's direction of rotation should be determined after distinguishing the basic model and input shaft on the opposite side.

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Q36Is it possible to install separate mounting taps on the drive section?
A36

Mounting taps have been added to the side of the ZCA35 drive section. First, consider mounting using taps in standard positions. Contact a Tsubaki representative when mounting taps other than in standard positions are need, as there are recommended machining positions.

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Q37Is there caps available for the opening on the drive section?
A37

Yes, it's available as seperate option.Please refer to product information for Model No.However, there is no cap for the opening of chain section.To prevent dust and chip, please choose bellow option.
※For ZCA25, cap is not available as there is no opening.

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Q38Is there any cautions for interlocked operation ?
A38

Be aware that basic capacity x number of units interlocked does not equal basic capacity while interlocked.Be sure that the ZCA's allowable input shaft torque is lower than the required torque when used in a straight line, such as in "drive source - ZCA 1 - ZCA 2."For details, please check "technical data and model selection" in the catalog.

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Q39Are strokes other than those listed in the catalog available?
A39

There are two stroke sizes for the ZCA25, three for the ZCA35, and three for the ZCA45 standard. Standard sizes are recommended in terms of price and delivery time. Special strokes other than standard may not be available due to chain buckling strength, wear characteristics, and other structural issues. Contact a Tsubaki representative for availability.

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Q40Is there enough stroke?
A40

Do not think in terms of leeway; always use within the stroke limit of Lmin and Lmax shown in the catalog. Stroke overextension will cause internal impact, which may cause serious internal damage to the main body.

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Q41Can housing section be changed to steel?
A41

Yes, it can be changed, but there are structural and functional limitations. Contact a Tsubaki representative for more information.

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Q42Can it be used in the clean room?
A42

It's not designed for clean room application.We can provide below aid measures.
Bellows. (Clean room specification available.)
Applying customer's specified grease.
※Same as special greases, this may shorten the service life. Please increase the frequency of lubrication cycle.

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Q43Can resin used in the housing section be changed?
A43

The housing section uses polyacetal materials. Any different material or color will be machined. Physical characteristics will also change with different materials. Contact a Tsubaki representative for more information.

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Q44Will the chain break if it buckles?
A44

A chain will bend at a certain vertical load that it cannot withstand, called the buckling load. However, the chain will not break, as the bend is generated by the misalignment of multi-layered plates. Reusing buckled chains is dangerous.

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Q45We want to see the actual product, can you provide any samples?
A45

Samples are available, please contact us.

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Q46Are there any cautions regarding use in hanging applications?
A46

When using in hanging applications, Tsubaki will occasionally issue a safety check sheet in advance for you to fill in and return. Be sure to always install a safety device should the chain break. Also, always install a safety fence and do not pass under any hanging items.

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Q47Can the chain be pulled out?
A47

The chains cannot be pulled out as they have stoppers on their ends. However, these stoppers were attached to prevent the chains from being pulled out in an emergency. Be sure to use within the Lmin to Lmax stroke limit. Do not use these stoppers as your stroke limit, as the stoppers may break and allow the chain to be pulled out, which can be extremely dangerous.

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Q48Is it all right that the end fixture is slightly twisted when the chain is pulled out?
A48

The end fixture may twist somewhat due to slight twisting between links as multiple Zip Chain links engage to form a column. This should not pose a problem as all links were checked when the unit was assembled. However, the unit cannot withstand twisting from external forces.

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Q49Can a sensor or the like be mounted on the ZCA?
A49

No sensors or the like can be mounted to the ZCA body. Install any such devices on a unit that incorporates the ZCA. (Customers will be responsible for any such installation.)

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Q50Should end fixtures always be fixed on the driven side?
A50

The basic capacity for each size assumes that the end fixtures are attached on the driven side. When attached on the rotating side, the buckling load will drop by half, much as it would in general buckling theory. There will therefore be limits to its operating load. Contact a Tsubaki representative for more information.

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Q51Are there any limitations to the mounting direction?
A51

It can be mounted in any direction, including horizontal, vertical, and hanging. Units may break when using under conditions where the weight (force) of the ZCA and conveyed items are borne by the mounting bolts. Be sure to install the unit so that the mounting bolts do not receive any load.

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Q52Can ZCA units be used outdoors?
A52

When using outdoors, dust and chips may cause chain troubles, and raindrops, damp may lead to bad lubrication and corrosion.The outdoor use is not recommended. The device may not be able to fulfil its expected performance and service life.

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Q53What is the operating temperature for the Linipower Jack?
A53

The operating environment temperature range will differ depending on whether the unit has a motor or not. It is 0 to 60ºC for types without motors and 0 to 40ºC for types with motors due to motor limitations. Contact a Tsubaki representative when using between 40 to 60ºC.

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Q54Why is a sealant only used in some places on the mating surface of the housing section?
A54

A caulking compound have been equally applied to the mating surface of the housing section, but because the ZCA is a resin molded product the position of the mating surface will slightly differ for each unit. ZCA units may be used safely despite having varying appearances.

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Q55Why are only made-to-order items available for hanging applications?
A55

We are required to confirm safety for hanging applications should the work fall due to chain failure, damages to the ZCA, and so on. We will ask you to provide a Confirmation of Safety and Application of Made-to-order Items in exchange for your quotation. We appreciate your cooperation.

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Q56Can a handle be mounted on the unit?
A56

Handle can be mounted. When manually rotating or inputting torque, the extremely high efficiency of the ZCA may cause reverse rotation from the load, depending on the installation direction. Exercise care when handling.

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Q57Is allowable load equal to basic capacity?
A57

The basic capacity and holding load when stopped are the same.

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Q58Are there any cautions when lifting 100N loads using ZCA35N050? (I need to give priority to the stroke.)
A58

The ZCA needs torque, regardless of whether loaded or unloaded, due to bearing friction, chain sliding, and so on. When this average unloaded operating torque ratio is larger than the torque required for lifting (roughly 25%), the effect of this torque during start-up will increase and prevent smooth operation. Should this occur, multiply the unloaded operating torque by 1.5 when selecting the amount of input torque necessary and select the necessary drive source.

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Q59Are there any problems with weight (needing more power than needed) when pulling out the chain?
A59

The ZCA has a special structure to ensure chain rigidity, which is why it needs force for the chains to engage. This force is the average unloaded operating torque. See the catalog for detailed values. This value may increase during initial use, but it will eventually stabilize as it wears in. You may continue to use it as is.

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Q60What is the relation between the direction of input shaft rotation and the direction the chain extends in?
A60

Rotating the input shaft on basic models clockwise (CW) will cause the chain to rise, while rotating counterclockwise (CCW) will cause the chain to lower. With input shafts on opposite side, rotating the shaft counterclockwise (CCW) will cause the chain to rise, while rotating clockwise (CW) will cause the chain to lower. Also, the direction of motor output rotation for types with motors will differ depending on selected chain speed. Refer to the catalog and instruction manual and check connections, rotation direction, and chain movement before installing the unit. Exercise care as mistakes in rotation direction may lead to injury or equipment damage.

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Q61Can the end of the chain be used as a stopper?
A61

Never use a stopper at the end of the stroke, as it may cause serious internal damage to the main body.

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Q62Is multi-point stopping possible?
A62

ZCA units can be used in multi-point stopping applications. There are basically no limits to stopping intervals; however, stopping accuracy will differ depending on mounting direction, backlash, and so on. Also, there may be limits to start-up frequency with narrow stopping intervals.

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Q63What is the relation between allowable input shaft torque and basic capacity?
A63

The allowable input shaft torque is the maximum torque that can be inputted onto the ZCA shaft. This value is calculated from the required force when accelerating the basic capacity at 0.35G. Torque is calculated assuming that the force acts on the sprocket P.C.D. radius.

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Q64In horizontal installations (Y), will performance differ if the chain case is installed vertically or horizontally?
A64

Basic functions with horizontal installation and a vertical or horizontal chain case. However, there is slightly more bend when pulling the chains from the main body in vertical installations. Mounting a guide will make both installations the same.

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Q65Why does the rated thrust drop when using in the long stroke?
A65

The rated thrust is limited due to Zip Chain buckling strengthen.

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Q66How to request Non-applicable certificate?
A66

Please request it from where the device is purchased.

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Q67How long can the stroke length be extended?
A67

It depends on the using conditions. Please consult us.

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