Motion Control White Paper – Life Expectancy for Single Vs. Double Nut Ball Screws

Motion Control Components – White Paper – Life Expectancy for Single vs. Double Nuts by Steinmeyer!

Motion Control Components - Steinmeyer Single and Double Nuts

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Life expectancy equations provided by some manufacturers only cover nuts having two-point contact. But what about four-point nuts? And what about the effects of preload?

BURLINGTON, MA –Motion Control Components – The fundamental determining factor of life expectancy is duty cycle, which includes load, thrust, speed, and duration of the travel. Calculating these forces is commonly understood. But preload is a very important factor in ball screw life calculations and must always be considered.  In cases where the applied external load is low, preload can determine as much as 90% of the life.

Steinmeyer engineers have developed a preload graph that consists of two curves: each representing the force-deflection curve of one ball nut in a double nut configuration. It shows how deflections increase with greater force (and vice versa). It also displays how the forces in the opposite nut decrease as soon as deflection results in an axial displacement. For example, with double nuts, the higher the thrust carried by one nut, the more likely it will be the first to fail if not properly preloaded.

Motion Control Components - Steinmeyer Single and Double Nuts Chart

 

Since single nuts have four-point contact there are twice as many load/unload cycles for each given spot on the ball surface. The preload penalty of the four-point contact configuration is anywhere between a 50% life reduction (if the only force the nut sees is due to preload), and no reduction at all if there is zero preload. Real-world applications fall somewhere in between.

Lastly, if thrust is high enough to cause sufficient deflection, one set of balls in a double nut may run unloaded, which is generally unacceptable and potentially catastrophic. The preload must be high enough to ensure unloading will never occur. This isn’t the case for single nuts since there is no ball set to be unloaded, and exceeding the limits in the preload graph above is not a problem. Therefore, the life penalty depends on preload – life increases as preload is reduced

Does a Single Nut Have the Same Life Expectancy as a Double Nut?

Learn more about the nut designs from Steinmeyer Go to:

Nut Designs – https://drive.steinmeyer.com/technology/preload-and-rigidity/nut-designs/

Single Nut – https://drive.steinmeyer.com/technology/preload-and-rigidity/nut-designs/single-nut/

Double Nut – https://drive.steinmeyer.com/technology/preload-and-rigidity/nut-designs/double-nut/

Steinmeyer Technology Catalog – https://drive.steinmeyer.com/fileadmin/media/downloads/en/steinmeyer-catalog_technology_engl_2017.pdf (see pages 21 through 23)

Key Takeaways:

  • Differences between single and double nuts
  • Determining the life of a ball screw
  • Calculating impact of usage/application
  • Understanding the effects of preload

Contact Steinmeyer engineers to the see if which nut design is right for your application.

About Steinmeyer

Steinmeyer is the world’s longest continuously-operating manufacturer of commercial ball screws. In the realm of linear motion control, our company has become synonymous with precision, innovation, and exacting standards of quality.

Steinmeyer’s extensive product line is used widely in drive systems for industrial machines as well as precision positioning in optical instruments, medical devices, and other mechatronic applications. www.steinmeyer.com

For further information on Steinmeyer our extensive product portfolio, call 1-781-273-6220 or e-mail Rosmary Belt at rosmary.belt@steinmeyer.com or visit the Steinmeyer FMD group at: www.steinmeyer.com

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