Ball screw assemblies are an efficient way to convert rotary motion to linear motion. (For those who may be unfamiliar, ball screw assemblies are made of a ball screw shaft and a nut with ball bearings and end supports.) Even if you can’t picture an assembly, you’ve probably seen them in action: they’re responsible for adjusting the wing flaps on an airplane.
In many industrial projects, ball screw assemblies are used to move a heavy object, such as an axis within a CNC machine, or to position an object, such as moving a table within a machine to its exact location. They also reduce friction and may even eliminate backlash, which is key for many of the precise industrial machines used in modern manufacturing.
If you need a ball screw assembly for your industrial project, there are many aspects that may be impacted by your selection.
- Standard vs. Custom Solution: There are off-the-shelf ball screws and ball screw nuts, however, for many clients, some customization is typically required. At PST Group, we can develop a precision ball screw assembly solution to meet your exact needs.
- Speed: How fast do you need the ball screw to move? Limitations on RPM, torque or critical speed may affect your selection. At PST Group, we can make several recommendations to fit your needs.
- Material Options: Ball screw assemblies are made of steel (usually 4150 or 6150). For more specialized operations, they can also be made out of stainless steel or can have a coating applied. (This is especially important for devices used in the medical field, such as pacemaker valves.)
- Accuracy: Ball screws are graded with a number from 0 thru 10. For precise accuracy, choose a grade with a lower number. Typically grades 0 thru 3 are made from ground ball screws, rather than rolled ball screws.
- Torque Requirements: Torque requirements, motor sizing and ball screw specifications can be calculated using the load and the lead of the ball screw. PST Group can help you determine your torque requirements.
- Load Capabilities: Knowing your load requirements, PST Group can give you options on the diameter of the ball screw, lead or different ball nuts.
- Lead Time: Custom solutions may take up to eight weeks to develop. Off-the-shelf solutions have a much quicker turnaround time.
Choosing a ball screw assembly to meets your exact needs is key. If you make the wrong selection, you may need to redesign your component or may see production losses due to poor machine performance. Choosing a screw that provides the capabilities you need, while fitting within your budgetary and lead time requirements, is what PST Group does best.
If you’re struggling to find a ball screw assembly to meet your exact needs, contact our engineering and manufacturing experts for help.