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Ballscrew return is an inside job

01 December, 2002

Ballscrew return is an inside job

A Swiss manufacturer has come up with a new ballscrew design in which the balls are recirculated within the screw instead of via the nut as happens in most other ballscrews. Aargau-based Eichenberger Gewinde claims that this new approach will allow it to produce and sell the ballscrews at a lower price without incurring any performance penalties.

As with other ballscrews, the new design (above) consists of a screw, a nut and load-bearing balls. However, unlike other systems, the balls are introduced in the screw into a non-load-bearing thread on the axial end of the nut. The balls are recirculated in the return threads, travelling in the opposite direction, to be guided back into the load-bearing thread.

Eichenberger says that its expertise in cold-forming and its own method for making nuts have made it relatively easy to change to the new design. It claims that the cold-rolled ballraces deliver a similar performance to machine-ground screws.

According to Eichenberger, the reason that most other ballscrew manufacturers still rely on external returns via the nut is a combination of their production methods and the materials they use.

To achieve higher loads with the new design, you simply use longer nuts extended by increments equivalent to the diameter of a ball.

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