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Ceramic spindles offer advantages over steel

10 June, 2013

Maxon motor has produced a pair of spindle drives with the option of wear-proof ceramic spindles that, it claims, offer many advantages over steel spindles or costly ballscrews.

For example, the ceramic spindles exhibit almost no slip-stick effect, so start-ups are smooth and jerk-free. They also offer good sliding characteristics and high wear-resistance, allowing high-speed operation as well as precise, dynamic movements.

The lifespan of the ceramic spindles is several times longer than that of steel, and they can be used in high-temperatures, as well as in inductive environments. For example, a ceramic spindle will not affect the magnetic field in an MRI scanner. And the biocompatibility of ceramics makes them particularly attractive for medical engineering.

The 8mm-diameter GP 8 S and 16mm GP 16 S spindle drives consist of a spindle, axial bearing, and gearhead. The 16mm drives, with M6 ceramic spindles made from zirconium dioxide, can transmit up to 315N for short periods. The axial forces are compensated by axial ball bearings in the gearhead’s output stage. The variety of reduction ratios available in the planetary gearhead makes the spindle drive suitable for dynamic applications such as valve and flap adjustments.

Long-life option: a maxon ceramic spindle drive

The 8mm drives can deliver short-term feed forces of up to 32N. They can achieve a high force/volume ratio for applications such as small pumps.

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