Rollon Acquires Intelligent Machine Solutions (iMS) to Expand Linear Actuators and Robotic Solutions

September 09, 2021 by Seth Price

Rollon recently announced that it has acquired Intelligent Machine Solutions (iMS) in hopes to expand linear actuator modules and robotic transfer units (RTUs).

Linear actuators are a crucial part of many control systems and operations. Due to their popularity, there are a lot of companies in this space that manufacture and distribute linear actuators. Rollon, part of Timkin, is a company that manufactures bearings and will now offer linear actuators, robotic transfer units (RTUs), and other products that iMS produces. 

“We are very excited to add iMS to the Rollon team,” said Business President of Rollon Americas, Scott Spangler, during a recent press release.

“With iMS technology and expertise, Rollon is even better positioned to serve the growing market of high-payload linear transfer and seventh-axis robotic systems with our engineered systems and products.”


Who is Rollon?

Rollon produces linear actuators, motion systems, and guides for the automation and robotics industry. Their catalog includes systems designed around caged bearings, recirculating bearings, and different rail profiles that can be tailored to differing operating conditions and loading. They also produce compact rails, telescoping linear systems, and other such devices used in various industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, specialty vehicles, and aerospace.


Rollon’s line of TUs. Image used courtesy of Rollon


Custom rail and guide designs allow for more flexibility in the manufacturing environment. Instead of having a robotic manipulator that can only move along a one-dimensional track, Rollon produces other options, such as the curvilinear track. These can be used to limit the jarring and sudden changes in directions if a robot is limited to transferring between two straight sections of rail.


Curvilinear rail available from Rollon. Image used courtesy of Rollon


An Overview of Intelligent Machine Solutions (iMS)

Intelligent Machine Solutions (iMS) develops RTUs, especially for heavy objects. RTUs such as these are used for packaging, machining, welding, painting, and inspection operations. The company’s RTUs have been built modularly but are simultaneously custom-built with the end-user in mind. 

They are available with optional accessories, such as weld-wire feed points, paint containers, and suitably clean configurations for semiconductor cleanrooms. Some are built intrinsically safe for explosive environments, and others are protected for wet environments, such as wash-down operations. Mounting rails for additional equipment, such as sensors, actuators, and cameras, are available.


The RTUe, with a few of its specifications. Image used courtesy of Rollon-iMS


The RTUs produced by iMS feature all-steel construction, with simple, automatic lubrication points, guideway carriage wipers, and several options for cable mounting. Lubrication can be performed from one point and automatically controlled by a PLC. All of these mean reduced machine downtime for maintenance.


Expanded Capabilities

This latest acquisition adds new capabilities to the Rollon catalog. New systems have increased positional accuracy due to the large servo-reducer driven rack and pinion system and can handle loads up to 110,000 lbs (489 kN). The new acquisition supports existing robotic systems, such as the FANUC M-2000.

The capabilities available through the combination of Rollon and iMS, and Rollon’s parent company, Timkin, hope to produce unique robotics solutions for virtually any industry. Because the bearings, guides, actuators, and other such equipment will all be produced through the same company, solutions can be developed quickly, instead of bouncing back and forth between different entities.