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Tips for Selecting Ball Screws

Tips for Selecting Ball Screws

Ball screws provide motion to many different types of machines throughout countless industries. As such, you may one day find yourself with a project or a broken piece of equipment that requires a ball screw. These tips for selecting ball screws will guide you through the process of choosing the right one for your purposes.

Intended Use

When picking a ball screw, the first thing you need to consider is its intended application. In what type of machine will you be using the ball screw? What is the function of that machine, and what specifications or capabilities must the ball screw have? Pondering these questions is a good starting point.

Rotational and Critical Speed

Depending on which application you need a ball screw for, the speed at which the ball screw must travel will differ. The bearings of a ball screw can only withstand rotational speeds up to a certain point. So, be sure that the machine you’re installing it in won’t require more than that limit. Each ball screw also has a critical speed where the screw will begin to vibrate, hurting performance. When selecting a ball screw, compare the rotational and critical speed of your screw to the requirements of the equipment.


During the ball screw selection process, you must also consider the load that the screw must withstand. If the ball screw you choose can’t handle the load you place on it, it may begin to buckle under the weight.


Considering your machine’s function, how important is the precision of your ball screw assembly? Some ball screws are more accurate and repeatable than others. If your application requires accuracy, choose a ball screw with higher precision. If the ball screw in your machine is present simply to create general motion, a less accurate assembly will do just fine.


One final tip for selecting ball screws is to consider the lifespan you need in them. Manufacturers indicate ball screws’ life expectancies. In other words, they tell you the expected distance the screw can travel before it begins to wear out. Choose one that will last as long you need it to operate in your machine. To extend the lifespan of your screw, practice proper maintenance of your ball screw assembly with cleaning and lubrication as well.

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