Ball screws

A Ball Screw is a highly efficient method of converting rotary to linear motion. It can move heavy loads at high speeds and accommodate high thrust loads. Ball screws comprise a threaded shaft and a nut containing a ball-bearing mechanism. The balls contact the shaft's raceway and recirculate, propelling the nut along the shaft in a smooth, precise movement with minimal internal friction. Ball screws are manufactured to close tolerances and are available in standard and miniature designs. Ball screw nuts and threaded shafts are also available to purchase separately.

Common applications include Machine tools, Printing Machinery, Food and beverage, Lifting and handling, General automation, Metal forming, Woodworking machinery, and Medical equipment.

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How do ball screws work?

Ball screw comprising of a shaft and nut

Ball screws utilise ball bearings recirculating within a nut, which transmit the load to the shaft. They are a very efficient method of converting rotary motion to translational movement.

There are two main types of ball screws ~ rolled and ground. With the advent of precision rolling technology, most ball screws are now of the rolled type, as these can offer up to G5 lead precision and excellent running characteristics. For applications with higher accuracy requirements or specific preloads/axial clearances then, ground ball screws are used.

SKF has an extensive range of precision rolled ball screws, including miniature ball screws (available in stainless steel). SKF SD, BD, SH, SX, BX, SND, BND, PND, SN, BN, PN, SL, TL, SLT and TLT are all available from Acorn.

THK offers a vast range of both rolled and ground products, with rolled products being manufactured in Europe. DIN standard EBA, EBB, EBC, EPB, EPC and EPA ball screws are available.

Both THK and SKF offers a range that includes long lead ball screws and rotating nut ball screws.

As all ball screws can only ‘see’ axial forces then some form of linear guidance is usually required; shafts, linear profile rail guides and roller guides are all available from Acorn ~ please see the relevant product pages for details.

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