PCS Instruments, a leader in the design and manufacture of equipment for testing fuels and lubricants, is leveraging the benefits of IEF Werner domiLINE linear motion systems from RARUK Automation Ltd for its latest innovation. The domiLINE supports a camera and spectrometer system with three axes of motion as part of PCS’s new-generation EHD instrument, giving users complete adjustment capabilities.

Established in 1987, PCS produces tribology instruments that give researchers the tools to benchmark their products against market-leading brands, thus playing a pivotal role in the development of world-class lubricants, materials and formulations. The company, based in West London, has a worldwide client base of users performing to ISO and ASTM test methods, as well as specialised tribology research in a wide range of industries.

There are many prerequisites that set instruments from PCS apart from competitor solutions, not least compact size, ease-of-use and, of course, extremely repeatable accuracy. For these reasons, the company turned to the performance of the IEF Werner domiLINE linear motion system from RARUK Automation for its new EHD instrument.

“The EHD measures the film thickness of lubricants in concentrated contacts using optical interferometry,” explains Dr Matt Smeeth of PCS Instruments. “This is a very important parameter in the industry and is widely used by lubricant manufacturers, additive makers and OEMs. The instrument is very precise and able to measure down to a film thickness value of 1nm.”

He adds: The domiLINE supports a camera and spectrometer system with three axes of motion, providing the user with complete adjustment capabilities. We chose it because of its ease-of-use and straightforward assembly: the domiLINE fits very well with the instrument. Its high-quality feel and reliability were further reasons behind our purchase decision.”

Manufactured from hard anodised aluminium (with a stainless-steel option), the compact domiLINE offers high load ratings and low backlash. Offering every conceivable axis configuration, 30, 50, 80 and 120mm slide widths available as standard sizes. The adjusting accuracy is ±0.05mm to suit a wide range of applications, including 3D measurement, fine sensor adjustment, centric adjustment of lateral guides and pilot light focusing, to list but a few.

At PCS, the company anticipates manufacturing up to 10 EHD instruments every year, every one of which will feature the domiLINE.

“It was very important to source a readily available solution from RARUK Automation, even more so due to current global supply issues,” reports Dr Smeeth.

PCS has been a customer of RARUK Automation for many years and was already a user of the compact IEF Werner domiLINE before developing the EHD instrument. The slides can be found on the company’s Mini Traction Machine and EHL ultra-thin film measurement system. In the former, the domiLINE is responsible for the linear motion and focus adjustment of an RGB colour camera and microscope system, while in the latter it focuses a spectrometer and monochrome camera.

“In all the years we have been using domiLINE it hasn’t presented us with a single problem,” concludes Dr Smeeth.