Continued developments in manufacturing and materials have improved ball screw performance, with the most recent generation of ball screws having greater load densities than ever before, leading to higher load capacities. High-load ball screws are being integrated into electromechanical linear actuator systems for use in applications with higher loads and more demanding environmental conditions. In fact, as electromechanical actuators and other mechanical motion components expand in capability for heavy duty applications, so does their capability to resist harsh conditions such as extreme temperatures, high particulate levels, chemical exposure, high-pressure washdowns, and shock and vibration.
For instance, ball screws with twice the load capacity of standard ball screws have been introduced by Thomson Industries. The redesigned ball screws handle more than double the load capacity, providing ten times as much service life compared to standard ball screws at equivalent performance points. These higher load ball screws are suited for motion control applications in injection molding, and large fabrication equipment.
Some basic design changes impacted performance parameters. “By increasing ball size and optimizing ball track design, we’ve designed a ball screw that handles more than twice the capacity of a comparable standard ball screw,” notes Markus Brändle, Thomson Product Line Specialist EMEA & Asia for Screws.
With more options for their designs engineers need tools to help simplify the selection process, and manufacturers are providing product sizing and selection tools to meet the need. Case in point – Bosch Rexroth features an online screw assembly configurator where users can design a screw assembly and place an order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The image-guided configuration system makes designing a screw assembly quick and easy with a built-in individual dimension input check for technical feasibility. Both 2D and 3D data is available for download in all the common formats, addressing any compatibility issues with differing formats.
“Our customers require tools that provide quick solutions with minimal time utilized,” notes Rodney Rusk, i4.0 Business Leader, Bosch Rexroth Corporation. “With so many pressures facing modern manufacturing today, we as suppliers continue to develop and release new tools that not only help our customers optimize their time and knowledge, but demonstrates our mastery of the various subject areas. The development and deployment of such tools is not optional, but an industry requirement today,” adds Rusk.