Have you ever seen a 3D printer move back and forth seemingly like magic to bring to life whatever it has been programmed to create? If so, chances are high that you scarcely thought about the linear bearings and rails that ensure the printer’s smooth, precise movements.
Linear bearings and rails are used in industrial machinery and equipment with moving parts such as 3D printers, transport systems, machine tools, robots, and sliding doors or drawers. These small parts play a large role in many industrial applications including machine tool operation, electrical power generation, petroleum refinement, and natural gas handling.
Linear bearings are devices that reduce friction in motion systems, helping to move things efficiently and easily. They generate lower friction than comparable sliding bearings, which means less power is needed to move a load, higher speeds can be attained, and greater efficiency is achieved.
Linear rails support the weight and movement of equipment in a linear way, allowing items to move smoothly and safely through a manufacturing or packaging process. They are designed to reduce friction throughout the process.
WON ST, based in Korea, manufactures a wide variety of linear bearings and rails. AutomationDirect sells the WON H, M, and MB series of linear bearings and rails. The H series offers four rows of continuously circulating ball bearings, while the compact M and MB series offer two rows. The design of both series provides lower friction resistance, smooth motion, and long life. The rails come in many lengths to match the linear guides a customer selects for a project.
WON products offer high positional accuracy, the ability to maintain precise movement for a long time, and improved machine productivity. They are also easy to maintain. In addition to its high performing products, WON is known for its research and development and product innovation and competitive pricing.
Serving Customers for More Than 30 Years
Lee Taek-won founded WON Shaft Precision Company in Korea in 1989, the same year that a British scientist invented the World Wide Web, Nintendo launched its Game Boy, and the first GPS satellite went into orbit. At that time, WON began manufacturing a linear motion shaft for use in Korea. In 1994, the company began exporting that shaft and then produced super ball bushings a few years later.
In the early 2000s, WON earned many awards in Korea for its technology and innovation, productivity improvement, and business leadership. During that time, it also obtained several ISO certifications and expanded its product lines to include Vee-rail, Track, and Cross roller guide ways as well as compact ball splines.
In 2006, the company changed its name to WONST Co. Since then, it has continued to develop new products and win awards in Korea. It also built a second manufacturing and research and development facility in Korea. In 2014, it opened its U.S. headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, which employs 4 people. It also operates a sales facility and warehouse, and engineering and production teams provide real-time customer support.
Leadership in Engineering and R&D
Today, WON offers a variety of forms and sizes of linear motion products for use in different environments so customers can choose the optimum products for their specific purposes and requirements.
“We offer leadership in engineering to our customers,” said Lee Taek-won, CEO and president of WON ST. “We have unique core technologies and technique to interpret rolling motion and sliding motion that we apply to special steel and heat treatment. We also have an ultraprecision machining technique. These technologies and techniques set our products apart from others in the industry and drive customers to prefer what we offer.”
The full portfolio of WON linear motion bearing products includes:
- A variety of linear guides including ball linear guides for a general use of linear motion
- Mini linear guides for use in compact environments
- Roller linear guides for ultra-high load, high rigidity, and high precision
- A variety of linear bushings and super linear bushings
- Cross roller bearings, linear actuators, shafting, and other linear motion parts
“Based on the technologies we use in our products, we are a leader in the field of industrial automation components of semiconductor and display manufacturing and inspection equipment, industrial robots, machine tools, and various automation equipment,” Taek-won said. “We are proud of that leadership and appreciate the support of our customers and their feedback. Those two things make our employees work even harder to anticipate and meet customer needs.”
WON’s continuous research and development focus has led to its industry leadership in Korea and to being a preferred linear motion component supplier in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The company has 15 R&D engineers and 130 production and quality control technicians who work together. For engineering needs and demand in the U.S., WON has an engineer who specializes in intellectual property.
Like the products its makes and sells, WON is constantly in motion. It operates factories in China and Vietnam and plans to expand its Korean facility with machining function for the U.S. market. It talks with customers regularly about their needs and innovates to meet those. Its employees participate in four to five trade shows each year, including ATX, IMTS, and Pack EXPO. In the U.S., employees attend events hosted by the Power Transmission Distribution Association, the Association for High Technology Distribution, and others to generate awareness of WON’s products and expertise. WON will also continue to invest in developing applications for use in robotics, automatic packaging, precision medical devices, and factory automation.
“Since our founding, we have done our utmost to satisfy our customers by looking at what they need to run their processes smoothly and efficiently and what we could do to help them in the future,” Taek-won said. “Our key specialized technologies of applying special steel and heat treatment and ultraprecision machining as well as our interpretation ability for rolling motion and sliding motion sets us apart. We are grateful that our customers value our expertise and products.”