Ball screws are a great option when you need an actuator that will translate motion quickly, effectively, and efficiently. Ball screws can actually translate motion with an efficiency of over 90%; those are some serious energy savings! To work well, though, you need to select a ball screw that is well suited to your specific application criteria. And to do that, you only need to remember one word: LOSTPED.
LOSTPED is an easy to remember acronym that contains all the specifications you need to keep in mind when specifying a ball screw. It stands for:
Load refers to the mass you intend to move. Do you need something heavyweight and powerful or something light and nimble? Orientation refers to the axis orientation, as whether your screw will be horizontal or vertical affects its needs for load support. Speed has two components, both velocity and acceleration. Be sure to keep required load in mind when determining necessary acceleration. Travel refers to the stroke length of the screw, and precision to the required positional accuracy of the screw. It may be possible to get an incredibly accurate ball screw, but does the increased efficiency justify the added cost?
Environment is a factor that is often neglected in engineering, but is actually vitally important. Keep in mind that when pressure is high and temperature is extreme, systems start to break down, so look for a ball screw that will perform consistently under the conditions you need it for. Finally, duty cycle refers to the necessary cycle rate for your system.
Ultimately, there is no one size fits all for ball screws, the right component will depend on the system it works in and the environment it operates in. But next time you are specifying a ball screw, just remember one simple word, LOSTPED!
Have more questions about making your motion systems work optimally? We are here to help. Feel free to learn more about our rugged servo drives, or reach us at our contact page with any questions. We cannot wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and tricks on making the most of your motion systems.