How to avoid problems by selecting the appropriate slides...
Article by Matt Duguid, Technical Sales

broken accuride slide

When selecting the correct slide for any application, consideration should be given to a number of variables that can affect the operation and durability of the slides. Failing to do this can lead to potential failures within the application, including dramatically reducing its product life.


1. Load rating

The initial question asked when trying to identify the correct slide is always - "What is the load rating you intend for the slides to take?". Under-specifying the correct load rating on a pair of slides you wish to use can cause the slides to fail under the weight of the drawer and its contents. Not only can this cause damage to the goods contained within the drawer, but there is the possibility of a health and safety infringement... not to mention the replacement of some new slides.

2. Drawer Depth

One of the other major mistakes made when selecting an appropriate slide is making a drawer much wider than the drawer is deep. This can cause an issue called "Racking" whereby the left and right hand slides work separately due to the distance between them. This can cause the slides to pull apart and regularly leads to the ball-bearings popping out and rolling over the floor. The different members of the slide, whether it is a two or a three piece, are pulled away from one another causing the ball retainers to spill the bearings. This causes similar consequences to using a load far in excess of that intended. Even though we understand it is not always possible to create the "optimum" drawer size it is something that needs to be considered. There are a couple of models in the Accuride range which are suitable at dealing with wider drawer applications which are the DZ7957 and DZ5321 ranges. The other thing which helps to limit this becoming an issue is mounting a centrally located handle and making sure the drawer is of sturdy construction so that it does not twist on opening or closing.

accuride drawer slides

3. Side Space

Another thing to consider would be any height or thickness limitations of the slide you have to use. Despite Accuride having a very wide range of options, if you are limited by needing to use certain sizes (usually a thickness to accommodate the cabinet and pre-built drawer) then you need to consider what is available and also the mounting tolerances that apply to the said slides. This issue does not normally apply to cabinets to which drawers have not yet been manufactured. It is recommended to allow between +0.2mm and +0.5mm over the nominal slide thickness as a standard tolerance, for perfect screw fitments. Some slides may require more room but this is always indicated in the Accuride data-sheet which can be provided for any slide model.

4. Application Specific Requirements

Finally, the last points you would need to cover would be whether the slides require any particular features or material finishes. This is always application specific; for example, something entering a marine or pharmaceutical environment would require a corrosion resistant material for maximum product lifetime or health and safety requirements. Other features could include a soft-close mechanism (Accuride's ECA range) to avoid a finger trapping hazard or a lock-in feature (similar to the 9308 range) so that the application does not slide open accidentally and a definitive catch would need to be depressed to open the drawer. This could be critical if the application is on a slight tilt.

Another requirement could be if a slide needed to be mounted underneath the drawer: this is called horizontal mounting. Horizontal mounting however needs to be approached carefully as the load rating that the drawer can then carry is reduced to 25% of that quoted on the data-sheet (This is in most cases but not all such as the DZ9308 range has a gravity-toggle based locking mechanism requiring the slide to sit in the vertical position). Some slides suggest - "Horizontal mounting not recommended" and others state "vertical mount only". These must be adhered to; to make sure no infringement in the Accuride guidelines is made. Failing to do this could result in early slide failure. A solution to this can be to use "L" shaped brackets which are available to most of the more commonly used slide ranges.

Accuride slide features include the following options:

  • Hold in
  • Hold Out
  • Lock in
  • Lock out
  • Touch release
  • Easy (soft) Close
  • Self Close
  • Front disconnect
  • Multi-Function Lancings (Bayonet Mounting)

Accuride slides are available in the following materials:

  • Steel with bright Zinc plated finishes
  • Steel with Black Zinc plated finishes
  • Steel with White Zinc plated finishes
  • Steel with corrosion resistant finish
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminium

The ideals of slide selection and installation are set to maximise the life in any given slide application and to ensure that the drawer is as smooth running as it can possibly be. Following all of this will result in saved time, money and the reputation of the end user for a durable and good quality product.

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