Jan 13 2017

How We Revolutionized The Design Of Ball Screws

A number of years ago our company based in Salem MA was approached by a major defense contractor.  They heard about our team’s capabilities and expertise and had a problem they were hoping we could solve.  In short, they were struggling to find a ball screw solution to focus infrared optics.  The ball screws they needed required super precision and the capacity to withstand very large dynamic axial loads with no backlash and extremely low friction.  They hadn’t been able to find a solution and asked us to give it a try.

At first, it looked like “mission impossible,” but our team loves a challenge.  We were determined to find the solution and this project was an opportunity to apply our manufacturing design and engineering expertise to an entirely new business.  So, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

It’s worth noting here that if we had been experts in the field of ball screws or familiar with related existing technologies, we would have been less likely to succeed, because the application we were solving for required an unconventional approach.

We began by reducing the rolling friction as well as the friction related to the recirculation of balls within the nut.  Many pots of coffee and four weeks later, we delivered a prototype and six weeks later we delivered six working ball screws to the customer for testing and evaluation.

Our team waited anxiously in our conference room while the customer’s engineers tested our ball screws for extreme dynamic loads and other requirements on their test stands.

The results were so successful that the customer asked us if we had perhaps seen their specifications before embarking on the project.  The customer simply could not believe that a project this challenging could have been completed, designed and manufactured in six weeks.

Later the customer revealed that they had been working on the problem for three years with two major worldwide market leaders and could not achieve the needed results.

Needless to say we could not have been more proud to have solved our customer’s problem.  We received a thank you letter signed by their entire team and, along with the glowing feedback, earned ourselves a devoted customer and advocate.

We now have a patent pending on our new approach to ball screw design and are providing a host of current customers with the very best ball screws in the industry.  “Necessity really is the mother of invention.”

Our Most Precision Motion team welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with any company needing a revolutionary ball screw solution for their simple to complex problems they are trying to solve.