Selecting A Precision Ball Screw

A ball screw is a very important component of many different types of machines and equipment. It allows for one form of motion, such as rotational movement, to be transferred or translated into linear motion.

Think of the power steering in a car. In this case, a ball screw is used to take the rotary movement that is produced by an electric motor in the vehicle and transfer this into axial motion that is used through the steering system.

Other uses and applications for ball screws include in aerospace, in automation and manufacturing equipment as well as for robotics and even in semiconductors. They can also be used in CNC equipment as they provide precision movement that can be fully automated.

However, these precision ball screw components are not the same as those used in general applications, and they require higher levels of accuracy in manufacturing.

The Precision Factor

Precision can mean different tolerances and different standards based on the industry and the specific part. When it comes to precision ball screw manufacturers, precision means that the manufacturing process is accurate to less than one-thousandths of an inch per foot of the length of the ball screw.

This will translate into just 830 nanometers per centimeter, which is required to reduce friction, increase performance and longevity of the ball screw as well as to boost mechanical efficiency in the system. There is also the option to use instrument quality ball screws which offer extreme precision with only 250 nanometers of variance over a foot of length.

The use of a precision ball screw will increase efficiency up to 90% over other types of lead screws, including Acme screws. In small to large applications, this increased efficiency and low friction design are critical. They will need to be installed to carefully protect the screw from exposure to grease, dirt or other contaminants along the length of the screw even in extreme types of operating conditions.

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