Common Causes of Ball Screw Failures

Misalignment will cause a higher than normal running torque. Check for:

  • Bent Screw
  • Alignment of screw in relation to journals
  • Alignment of screw in relation to nut housing
  • Alignment of screw in relation to slides, gibs, and roller cages

Improper lubrication can cause poor running and high wear. Check for:

  • Proper maintenance of machine lubrication system
  • Correct type of lubricant (follow manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • Make sure lubricant is clean
  • Remember synthetic lubricants can cause varnish deposits

Dirty environments can cause poor running and high wear.

  • Make sure proper wipers are installed and in good working condition
  • Consider installing a bellow type protective cover
  • Consider lubrication system filters or strainers
  • Check coolants for rust and gum content
  • Be careful with soaps and high pressure cleaning so that lubricants are not washed away

 Store extra ball screws properly.

  • Lubricate and rotate nuts periodically
  • Keep screws protected with tubular plastic sheeting
  • Hang ball screws vertically to keep them straight
  • Keep units from excessive vibration

 Be aware of the following potential problems:

  • Ball screws can be overloaded
  • Hardness of screw and nut may be substandard
  • There may be a mismatch of leads between the screw and the nut
  • A screw may have been crashed and not look like it
  • A unit may be partially disassembled and not look like it

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