How does temperature affect ball screw assemblies?

Reprint of Danielle Collins post, Linear Motion Tips, on Friday, December 11, 2015

As an integral part of industrial machines and processes, ball screw assemblies often operate in environments with elevated temperatures. Heat can be generated by other mechanical and electrical components in the machine, and in some cases, is a byproduct of the process itself. And, like other motion products with sliding or rolling friction, ball screws generate heat of their own as they run. This heat, and especially the change in temperature that occurs over time, can have a detrimental influence on the screw’s function. But there are ways to mitigate heat and reduce its effect on life and accuracy.

Operating temperature recommendations for ball screw assemblies vary among manufacturers, but the typical upper limit for the most common ball screws is 80° C for short, instantaneous exposure, and 50° C for continuous duty. For standard annealed screws, a temperature over 100° C can cause a decrease in tensile strength and should be discussed with the manufacturer.

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How does temperature affect ball screw assemblies?

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