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What is a Drawer Slide and How Do I Choose the Right One?

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Date: 2017-12-05
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The Basics

A simple drawer slide has two members: a drawer (inner) member that attaches to the side of a drawer box, and a cabinet (outer) member that attaches to the cabinet’s inner wall surface, within the drawer opening.  Only one of the slide members (drawer) moves when opening a drawer.

 

A more complex slide structure will include three members, with an intermediate member located between the cabinet and drawer members. Only the drawer and intermediate members move; while the cabinet member remains fixed to its location within the cabinet structure.

 

Additionally, slides can come in two arrangements: side mount and undermount.

Most Cossla drawer slides are under mount, meaning they’re mounted underneath the drawer and within the cabinet structure. An undermount slide, mounts in a position that allows a specially designed drawer to sit on top of the suspension, unlike a side mount slide. An undermount slide is often used where it’s desirable to conceal the drawer slide components from view.

 

Lengths and Extensions

Cossla slides come in many lengths, from as little as 10 in. to as long as 24 in., Length refers to the total length of the slide assembly, when collapsed in the closed position.

 

How far a slide extends or moves, is called extension or travel. A simple slide that uses just two members, an inner and an outer, generally provides ¾ (or partial) travel. That means the moving drawer member travels at ¾, or 75%, of the slide’s length.

Cossla slides are common in residential uses, such as in kitchen cabinetry, or in office furniture, where direct full access to the drawer’s contents is not desired.

 

Load Capacities

Determine how much weight your application is likely to see when in use. Cossla slides’ load capacities fall into three ranges: light-, medium-, and heavy-duty.

Disconnect versus Non-Disconnect*

Decide if you want your drawer to be removable from the cabinet structure. If so, choose a slide with a disconnect feature that lets you separate the drawer member from the cabinet, or intermediate member, allowing the removal of the drawer (to clean for example).   There are slides with rail disconnect features , which allow rails that are attached to the sides of drawers, to be released and lifted off the corresponding drawer members.

A disconnect feature is useful for furniture manufacturers with multiple assembly lines. One line may assemble hardware to drawers, while another may assemble hardware to cabinets. With a disconnect slide, manufacturers can simply mount the separate members in the assembly phases and then join them together in the final stage. Connecting a drawer member with a cabinet member can be as simple as align, engage and push closed.

Usually, you want to avoid a disconnect option with heavy-duty applications, With most heavy-duty applications, it’s impractical (and a safety concern) to remove a fully loaded drawer.  Regardless of whether you use a disconnect feature with light- or medium-duty slide, consider whether you can safely handle the drawer and its contents before disconnecting the members.

 

Special Features

Additionally, slides can come with features that make opening or closing a drawer more convenient. These include:

• Easy-Close

• Self-Close

• Touch Release

An Easy-Close slide includes a closing device, equipped with a damping cylinder, and cooperating springs that engages with the drawer member and assists the final inches of the drawer closing action. Easy-Close (sometimes-called Soft-Close) slides provide assurance that the drawer will close quietly and smoothly every time.

A Self-Close slide, also includes a closing device, with springs, but does not include a damping cylinder.  The engagement of the drawer member is similar, and once engaged with the device, the drawer quickly closes at the last inches of closing distance. Self-close slides are noisier than Easy-Close slides, and sometimes are used as “stay-closed” devices for mobile cart applications.

A Touch Release slide allows opening of the drawer, without the need for a drawer pull. Activation of a Touch Release slide is accomplished by simply pressing against the drawer front, which releases a spring activated device to “spring” the drawer out of the cabinet approximately 2 in.  Closing is just a matter of pushing the drawer closed completely, which resets the device for the next opening activity.

Choice of Finish

Cossla slides come in zinc galvanized finish. Some slides utilizes stainless steel or aluminum material as needed for specific applications. Zinc is the most common plating finish; it features an environmentally friendly base layer of zinc, with a clear coating over the top. A clear zinc coating resists moderate levels of corrosion, typically for slides used in non-corrosive environments, like office furniture.  Stainless steel and aluminum material slides offer even greater corrosion-resistant but are available only on select models.

Conclusion

This brief guide should shed some more light on what makes a Cossla slide and how it can best serve your needs.


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