Miniature Metric Ball Screws

June 11, 2024
Miniature Metric Ball Screws Provide High Load Capacity in a Small Footprint

Thomson Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of linear motion solutions, has announced the availability of new German-engineered precision ball screw sizes with US-based distribution and machining that provide best-in-class load capacity in a small footprint. The Thomson miniature metric ball screw line uses a unique multi-start ball return design that maximizes support for higher loads. This design provides precise, smooth and quiet operation for applications requiring high precision and load handling in confined spaces.

“To achieve specified load capacity, designers of laboratory, medical and other space-constrained mechatronics applications must often choose a larger nut, which makes the final equipment larger than it needs to be,” said Denise Goldman, Senior Product Manager for Ball Screws at Thomson. “Thanks to our unique ball return system and precision product manufacturing expertise, we can deliver a smaller assembly with higher load handling capacity.” 

Using more balls enables higher loads to be supported. Thomson miniature metric ball screws accomplish this with a unique multi-liner return system that maximizes the number of circuits and loaded balls in the nut. A miniature metric system with a multi-liner return system, for example, deploys 168 balls in eight circuits to support 7.6 kN of static load, as compared to a single-liner design, which would use 84 balls in four circuits to support only 4.2 kN. Maximizing the number of balls within a single nut also extends the life of the system by spreading the load across multiple points. Furthermore, the Thomson multi-liner return system floats axially to compensate for misalignment.

Applications

Thomson miniature metric ball screws are ideal for designers who specify linear motion components with minimal space requirements. Common applications include:

  • Diagnostic and life science instruments, such as chemistry analyzers
  • Test and measurement equipment, such as torque testers
  • Fluid pumping, such as medical infusion pumps
  • Robotics and pick & place equipment, such as engraving, scanning and printing machines

Availability

New Thomson miniature metric ball screws with the multi-liner ball return system are now available in 8 x 2.5, 8 x 5, 10 x 2, 10 x 3, and 12 x 2-mm diameters. Additional size options are currently under development. Mounting interface options include threaded, flanged or cylindrical.

All options feature carbon steel construction, high-performance repeatability (0.05 mm backlash), and ± 52 µm / 300 mm standard lead accuracy (T7). Miniature metric ball screws can also be ordered with custom coatings such as thin dense chrome and black oxide coating.

Related Glossary Terms

  • black oxide

    black oxide

    Black finish on a metal produced by immersing it in hot oxidizing salts or salt solutions.

  • robotics

    robotics

    Discipline involving self-actuating and self-operating devices. Robots frequently imitate human capabilities, including the ability to manipulate physical objects while evaluating and reacting appropriately to various stimuli. See industrial robot; robot.

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