Flat Mounting Heavy Duty Drawer Slides:

A Guide for Engineers, Industrial Designers, and Fabricators

Maximizing Efficiency with Flat Mounting Heavy Duty Drawer Slides: A Guide for Engineers and Industrial Designers

In the world of industrial design and engineering, every component plays a crucial role in the overall functionality and efficiency of a system. One often overlooked yet essential element is the humble drawer slide. When it comes to heavy-duty applications, particularly those requiring flat mounting, understanding the intricacies of these components can make a significant difference in project success. This article delves into the world of flat mounting heavy duty drawer slides, providing valuable insights for engineers and industrial designers seeking to optimize their designs.

Understanding Flat Mounting and Its Implications

Flat mounting drawer slides is a technique often employed when side mounting is not practical. However, it's crucial to understand that this mounting method comes with specific limitations and considerations:

  • Weight Capacity Reduction: When mounting drawer slides flat, they lose approximately 60 to 70 percent of their standard weight capacity. This significant reduction must be factored into your design calculations.
  •  Length Limitations: Slides longer than 20 inches tend to become very springy when flat-mounted. It's generally not recommended to use a flat-mounted slide over 24 inches in length.
  • Alignment: When mounting drawer slides flat, you must get them perfectly parallel. If not, the slides will work against each other and bind. Use a jig or CNC machine to make sure your mounting holes are perfectly aligned.
  • Mobile Applications: For mobile uses such as service trucks, conversion vans, or expedition vehicles, it's advisable to further reduce the weight limit to 50% of the standard weight class. This additional reduction accounts for the vibration generated during vehicle movement. As you can see, a 500 lb. rated slide now has very little capacity left. This is why OVIS does not recommend flat mounting drawer slides in a mobile application.

Applications and Considerations for Flat Mounting Heavy Duty Drawer Slides

Industrial and Commercial Uses

Heavy duty drawer slides, particularly the Fulterer FR 5400 series, find extensive use in various industrial applications:

  • Machinery components
  • Kit/Parts Carts
  • Safety gates
  • Toolbox drawers
  • Fixtures for automotive assembly lines
  • Deep storage drawers for large fixtures, dies, and maintenance parts

When considering flat mounting for these applications, it's essential to carefully evaluate the weight requirements and potential vibration or movement factors.

Understanding Load Ratings and Capacity

When selecting heavy duty drawer slides for flat mounting, understanding load ratings is crucial:

  • Standard Rating: Load ratings are typically based on an 18" length and consider a pair of slides at full extension. These standards are set by: ANSI, KCMA, BIFMA, etc.
  • Length Impact: As the slide length increases, the weight capacity decreases. A general rule of thumb is a 5% reduction in weight capacity for every 2 inches over 18".
  • Weight Classes: Common heavy-duty slides are usually rated in the 200lb. to 600 lb. class range,
  • Super Heavy Duty: Specially made models can have load ratings form 200 lbs. up to 8000 lbs., classified as Super or Extreme Heavy Duty Drawer Slides.

For flat mounting applications, remember to apply the 60-70% reduction factor to these ratings, and further reduce by 50% for mobile applications. OVIS does not recommend flat mounting in a mobile application.

Best Practices for Flat Mounting Heavy Duty Drawer Slides

To ensure optimal performance and longevity of flat-mounted heavy duty drawer slides, consider the following best practices:

  1. Accurate Load Calculation: Carefully calculate the expected load, factoring in the weight of the drawer contents and the drawer itself. Apply the appropriate reduction factors for flat mounting and mobile applications if relevant.
  2. Length Selection: Choose the shortest slide length that meets your requirements to minimize springiness and maintain optimal weight capacity.
  3. Mounting Surface: Ensure the mounting surface is flat, rigid, and capable of supporting the combined weight of the slide, drawer, and contents.
  4. Vibration Mitigation: In mobile or high-vibration applications, consider additional vibration-dampening measures to protect the slides and contents.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance schedule to check for wear, ensure smooth operation, and verify that locking mechanisms (if present) are functioning correctly.

The Fulterer FR 5400 Mounting Brackets: A Versatile Solution

At OVIS we believe that a mounting bracket is a better option than flat mounting when a side mounting option is not possible. The angle brackets also provide additional lateral stability to the slide and drawer/platform.

When faced with impractical mounting scenarios, the Fulterer FR 5400 mounting brackets offer a robust and adaptable solution. These brackets are specifically designed to address the challenges associated with heavy duty drawer slides, providing specifiers with a reliable option for even the most demanding applications. The mounting brackets are available in 4 sizes that can be combined to cover the FR 5400 series size range from 12" up to 60". Below are images of the bracket configurations:

Key Features and Specifications

The Fulterer FR 5400 mounting brackets boast several features that make them ideal for challenging installations:

  • Material: 3mm thick zinc plated, cold rolled steel
  • Compatibility: Designed for Fulterer FR 5400 and FR 5400 L (locking) heavy duty drawer slides
  • Dimensions: 305 mm (12"), 406 mm (16") length, 559 mm (22"), 711 mm (28")
  • Weight Capacity: Engineered to handle the full weight capacity of the FR 5400 Series slides
  • Included Components: Each set includes 2 non-handed brackets and fasteners for mounting to the slides

Versatile Mounting Options

One of the most significant advantages of the FR 5400 mounting brackets is their versatility. They can be used to mount slides to the floor and to the drawer or shelf, providing additional strength and stability in situations where side-mounting is not feasible. This flexibility allows for creative solutions in a wide range of industrial applications.


Flat mounting heavy duty drawer slides presents unique challenges and opportunities for engineers and industrial designers. By understanding the implications of this mounting method, carefully selecting the appropriate slides, and following best practices, you can create efficient, durable, and high-performing solutions for a wide range of industrial applications.

Remember, while the information provided here serves as a general guide, each application is unique. For high-use or high-speed applications in automated processes, it's advisable to seek a professional consultation to ensure the correct solution is specified. By leveraging the right knowledge and products, you can elevate your designs and create industrial solutions that stand the test of time and use.

Flat Mounting Heavy Duty Drawer Slides:
OVIS, Chip Wimbauer July 5, 2024
Share this post
Sign in to leave a comment